Life is best when filled with anticipation. We look forward to something that is about to happen, could happen, holds promise… and thus we live in a state of expectancy.
What does the day hold? Maybe a cappuccino made by a skilled barista, a word from a stranger that is so personal we know it is God’s voice, a rainbow painted on the clouds marking the end of a storm.
Sometimes it is a special date that holds anticipation. I went to the DMV to take a driving test on my 16th birthday, excited for the adventures and freedom being a licensed driver would bring.
It could be a wedding, birth of a child, educational degree, mastery of a craft, or upcoming trip.
The definition of anticipation is “the act or state of looking forward to some occurrence.”1
And this is Christmas, the season of advent. All the earth waited to receive a Savior born at the appointed time in Bethlehem. Then they waited for Him to conquer death on the cross. We now join all the earth waiting for the return of Christ as our triumphant King.
Christmas is “less than” if we only anticipate opening presents December 25, attending a production of Scrooge at the local theater or Handel’s Messiah, decorating festive cookies or constructing gingerbread houses, and driving through a neighborhood known for elaborate light displays.
Therefore, I am sharing in this post a few websites that offer free advent reading plans. These plans help us stay focused on the reason for Christmas and live with expectation. Hopefully not just this December as we celebrate the birth of Christ but into the New Year, 2023, living daily as if it were the date of His return.
Free Advent Reading Plans:
–Cissie Graham Lynch Advent Devotional, a four-part series posted weekly at billygraham.org. Week one is “Christ the Conqueror.” This series is from “Born to You This Day: Christmas Reflections on the Savior.”
–Lovegodgreatly.com is posting a four-week advent devotional titled “All His Promises” by Melissa Fuller. The first week focuses on Isaiah 2:5—“Let us walk in the Lord’s guiding light.”
–“Hope Rekindled” a free four-week advent reading plan written by Sarah Koontz can be downloaded in its entirety at livingbydesign.org/advent. Week one is “Promise,” week two is “Preparation,” week three is “Peace,” and week four is “Praise.”
–Navigators offers “Celebrate Advent: 4 Weeks of Welcoming Jesus! The readings are based on four phrases from a hymn written by Charles Wesley titled “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” You can download a copy at navlink.org/celebrateadvent.
December can be a month of despair if we focus on the passing pleasures of this world. Or if we allow the losses and disappointments of 2022 to consume our thoughts. But our hope and future are not of this world. Making time for advent devotionals will give us the right perspective. Help us to not only approach each December day with expectancy, but every day with this attitude as we anticipate the return of Christ.
1-If you have a special advent devotional that has blessed you, please share it in the comment section!
1-Definition from merriam-webster.com.