Why is Advent Important?

Why is Advent Important?

What is Advent and why is it important? Before we dive in, I want you to imagine yourself as the president (or prime minister or head of state) of your country. Ready?

What do Presidents and Advent have to do with one another?

Imagine you, Mrs. President, are visiting a foreign country, flying in with a host of dignitaries and attendants. The plane lands on the airstrip, the stairway is attached, and as the door opens, you step out, hand half raised to wave and greet the waiting crowd,

and you see – no one.

Did they really forgot this important visit? It’s inconceivable! But imagine how much more embarrassing it must be for the country you are visiting. No frantic scramble can make up for the fact that they utterly failed to receive you with due honor. Whatever they manage to quickly put together as a formal reception will be piecemeal, hastily assembled, and lacking the careful composition and foresight that would normally be expanded for guests of honor.

Now, I have never heard of a case where a country’s political leadership forgot about the visit of a foreign dignitary. Probably because they all have a very important tool – a calendar. In a way, Advent is like that.

 

A Brief History – The Origins of the word “Advent”

 

Maybe you found it challenging to imagine yourself as President or Chancellor, and you were wondering what that might have to do with Advent. It might surprise you – as it did me – that originally this time was named “epiphaneia”, and this word means the arrival, presence, or visit of a dignitary, particularly of a king or emperor. (January 6 is still celebrated as Epiphany for that reason.)

 

When Latin took over in the Western church, the name for the weeks leading up to Christmas was called tempus adventus Domini – the time of the arrival of the Lord. Hence we got the name Advent for this season.

Maybe you are interested in Advent trivia such as the fact that until 1917, Advent was a time of fasting in the Roman Catholic Church, comparable to Lent. And that this period once used to range from November 11 until January 6 (so no stuffing yourself with sugar cookies all through December).

 

What is Advent and Why is it Important?

Whether such facts intrigue you or not, one question remains: why have such a time at all? Couldn’t we just celebrate Christmas and be happy about it?

It seems to me that the Christians in the first centuries were at least as wise as we, if not wiser. Maybe they saw the danger of Christmas just sneaking up on us and catching us unprepared. Or maybe they thought along the lines of preparing for an important dignitary, making sure that everything – inwardly and outwardly – was ready for his arrival. How embarrassing it would be having to scramble on the last day, and how shameful for the honoured guest to be treated with such a lack of anticipation!

 

Different Historical Advent Traditions

To be sure, the emphasis varied initially. Some highlighted the miracle of the incarnation, underscoring the unfathomable mystery that God entered humanity. Others placed the focus more on the fact that, just as Jesus came once as a baby, he will come again as king of the universe and bring justice and peace forever

Both are important, and both are much too weighty to ponder on single day, sandwiched in between meal preparations and family gatherings.

A Time to Long and a Time to Celebrate

Which is why we have Advent – a season to let the astounding truths of Jesus’ first and second coming soak into our very souls, to incite in us longing and gratefulness and praise. And a time to prepare ourselves for the joyful celebration. The celebration where we remember Him entering our world and becoming like us. And where we celebrate His impending return in glory.

Thank you to my fantastic husband, Simon Goeppert for this guest post!

If you like his thoughts and writing, be sure to check out our new Advent Devotional!

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Why is Advent Important?

Why is Advent Important?

What is Advent and why is it important? Before we dive in, I want you to imagine yourself as the president (or prime minister or head of state) of your country. Ready? What do Presidents and Advent have to do with one another?Imagine you, Mrs. President, are visiting...

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Advent Devotional for the Scatterbrained Mom

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A Quiet Advent Challenge

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Advent Devotional for the Scatterbrained Mom

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Simple Advent Devotions for the Scatterbrained Mom

N

Exclusively for scatterbrained Mamas

N

Simple daily devotions

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Designed to prepare the busy heart of the mom for the coming of the King.

N

Set aside time daily to rest and be in the presence of God

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Celebrate Christmas with intentionality

N

Intertwined on each day are themes of longing, promise, and fulfillment

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For the heart the longs for more of Jesus

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Fight against Advent and Christmas season overwhelm

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Reading the Grand Story of the Bible in Under 2 Hours

Reading the Grand Story of the Bible in Under 2 Hours

An Evening of Reading through the Greatest story, ever.

So there we were, a small classroom full of missionaries, overcome by an utter sense of awe. My eyes were tearing up, and all I could do was pray in my very feeble words my overwhelming gratitude to God.

This has to be one of the most powerful exercises I’ve encountered.

 

What intrigued me the most about this experience, was that it wasn’t anything “special”.

There was no fire falling down, no miraculous healings, no prophets sharing a word,

just the Bible being read.

But with a very special intention…

To gather a big picture view of God’s story with mankind.

 

 

Reading Through the Greatest Story Ever

We tried this same exercise last year with some of the students we lead. My vision was to have a “Story” evening: where we could taste, hear and see God’s story with us. My goal was that each one of us would leave that evening with a renewed understanding of God’s story and his faithfulness.

So, interwoven between food, we read aloud through the Bible. Each one of us took turns reading through some verses I had picked out.

It was a lovely evening of friendship and the Bible, and the kids even joined us at the beginning. After dinner, we sent them off to bed, and continued to read the bulk of the verses while sharing in some tasty wine.

This is a great exercise for a small group, Bible study, discipleship group, or even a date night.

Simplify With Kids – Make it Your Own!

As of yet, we have not tried a full reading through with our little ones.

I think it’s possible though if you were to go through the verses and make it work for your family.

 

Missing the Big Picture

Do you like reading and dwelling on individual verses, and chapters of the Bible?

So do I.

In fact, this is how I dwell daily in the word.
Bit by bit.

But…

Sometimes we’re so caught up focusing on the intricate details of each puzzle piece, that we forget to stand back and look at the puzzle in all it’s glory.

That’s what reading through these verses is like.

If you read these highlights aloud (even better with friends) it will renew your understand and vision of The Greatest Story Ever – The Bible.

 

Life Changing, Faith Boosting, Bible Reading

After my first experience reading through these verses in the classroom, I felt almost a bit silly.

Why hadn’t I thought of this before?

It was so simple, but so powerful.

I’m very grateful for Dr. Anita Koeshall who introduced this “Grand Picture” thinking and reading and has taught me so much personally.

 

 

 

Please try this out and tell me your experience!

I’d love to hear about how you use it with your family or small group, or discipleship group!

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Celebrating the Biblical Feasts | Remember

Celebrating the Biblical Feasts | Remember


Have you ever been interested in the Biblical Feasts? Here is part one of a brief introduction to God’s feasts and how God uses them.

As a teenager, I did a week long internship at the Vancouver Opera. It was a fantastic experience, especially since at the time I was an aspiring to be an opera singer.

One part of the practicum was that I got to observe a rehearsal of La Traviata at an old church in the city. There were no flourishes, or costumes. Just a piano, the actors, and their movements. It was very simple. But even without the perfection of the real stage, the costumes, the makeup, or the orchestra, I was almost in tears in the end. The voices and acting alone were so powerful that I was drawn right in to the story.

I will never forget the beautiful sounds, and the emotions the music conjured up.

God’s Plan to Remember

If you read my post on Why God Loves Food you’ll remember that I pointed out how I pointed out that God uses the tastes, smells and textures of food to remind us of him in ways that are deeper than words.

God knows our humanness better than we. So he set up a way for us to remember him throughout the generations. No, I’m not talking about the Bible here (though that is one way we remember who He is and what he has done..

He created festivals!
Sometimes they’re referred to as the Jewish Feasts, but I’m going to call them the Biblical Feasts here.

Just thinking about God creating feasts makes me all warm and fuzzy feeling. He could have just left us with some words hewn in rock:: dead and lifeless.

But no! He knows US.

He knows we love food, and flavour, and celebration, and relationship, so he made time for that.
The feasts are more than just excuses to have a good time though, there is multi-faceted intention behind them.

The feasts are there for us to remember, reenact what has happened, or what God has done and to rehearse what is to come.

Let’s get a very quick overview on the feasts.

 

Feasting to the Glory of God

Passover

You’re probably familiar with the Exodus story. The Jews were released from bondage (Exodus 12) and were commanded to keep The Passover in order to remember.
The Christian remembers that we were released from sin as Jesus, the sacrificial lamb died on the cross (1 Corinthians 5:7). The Exodus was a shadow of the greater redemption that came!

Day of First Fruits

This is a special feast celebrating the God’s gift of the early crops. 
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of first fruits.
We celebrate that Jesus was the first fruit (1 Corinthians 15:20), and we wait for the next fruit – us finally in our resurrected bodies.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

It begins the next night after Passover. Leaven in the Bible typically means sin. God commanded the Jews to abstain from yeast and leaven during the feast. The matzo bread that is eaten is striped, like Jesus’ body (Isaiah 53).

Shavuot (Pentecost)

Exactly 50 days after first fruits there is the Feast of Harvest, which we refer to as Pentecost. After Jesus’ resurrection, he joined the disciples for 40 days and then he told them to wait until the Holy Spirit would come. And he did, exactly on the day of feasts. There was a great harvest of souls (3000) which correlates those lost in Exodus 32:28.

Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets)

Usually in September we the memorial of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24). The trumpet blowing was a reminder for the worker in the field to stop immediately, and come  for worship in the temple.
We read in the New Testament that the last trumpet sound that will raise the dead and rapture the living (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement

On the Day of Atonement the High Priest of Israel entered the Holy of Holies to make a sacrifice on behalf of himself and Israel. (Leviticus 23:28-32)  It was a time for each person to confess his or her sins from the year.

We know our atonement is in Christ alone, by faith alone. This will be fulfilled when Christ returns again.

Sukkot (Tabernacles)

The Jews remember that God provided shelter for them while they were in the wilderness. They build little shelters outside their houses and live and worship in them for the time.
I have a friend who does this as a family, and I think it’s such a neat way to reenact and remember what God has done.
We know that God will establish his new temple in Jerusalem in the age to come. (Micah 4:1-7)

Shabbat

A very special and holy day that happens once a week. God lays a framework of rest and worship. Some understand the Shabbat as a rehearsal of the peace or shalom to come. One day a week where man, nature, and God are right with one another.
Every Shabbat I’m reminded that the rest and peace that I experience is just a shadow of what is to come. It reminds me to anticipate, and I long even more so for the Return of the King!

Biblical Feasts of Remembering

When you look at all those feasts, they’re pretty much spread right around the year. That means God set it up so that we literally can remember and celebrate him and all that he’s done all year long!

I think of it like Christmas on steroids.

Ok, that’s not a fantastic example.

But growing up in a Mennonite background, Christmas was pretty much the highlight and it only came once a year. How sad.

When I first came across the Shabbat I got totally excited. It was like Christmas every week! Read about that experience here.

God Loves to Party

After I realized there was a whole host of festivals I started to realize that God was pretty interested in us.
I absolutely thinks that he WANTS us to ENJOY him.

He wants us to BE with him.

Not just at Christmas!
Or Easter.

He designed a whole yearly and weekly rhythm for us to continually set our gaze above and remember him.  

It’s so easy to get stuck down in the muck and not remember and celebrate who God is and what he has done.

 

 

Have I just blown you away and you don’t even know where to begin with this all?
Sign up for our family’s Simple Christian Shabbat guide below to get started!

Try it out, and tell me how it went!

 

 

 

 

 

 

But since I (most likely) can't invite you to my own Christian Shabbat table, you'll receive a step by step outline of the evening for you to try out yourself- including a BONUS challengelaughing!

$

You'll Receive Step by Step Instructions and Examples

of  how our family celebrates in the Simple Christian Shabbat Celebration Guide immediately by signing up here.

 

A Simple Tradition

 

With A Massive Impact

 

Have you been curious about celebrating your own Christian Shabbat?

I would love to invite you over to my home.

 I promise you that you are going to love celebrating this with your friends and family

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A Quiet Advent Challenge

A Quiet Advent Challenge

Christmas is coming, and we want to prepare our hearts for the joy to come!Join this Quiet Advent Challenge today. Here's what's waiting for you. 4 Sundays of:   Slow down be quiet and get ready for the King.[et_bloom_inline...

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Setting Things on Fire, The Bible and Destroying Lies, Fear and Condemnation

Setting Things on Fire, The Bible and Destroying Lies, Fear and Condemnation

In the video below you’ll find one great tool that I use to destroy lies, fear and condemnation using biblical truths. If you have ever struggled with any of these things, I really encourage you to watch it and try it out!

Sneaky Little Lies

Today I was thinking about a common problem I think many of us have.

 

Lies
Fear
Condemnation

 

Yuck.

 

No one consciously says, “Yeah, I know it’s not true, but I’m just going to believe that I’m crap.”
or,
“I’m going to be afraid now because it feels so good.”

No. That’s nonesense.

 

Destroy Lies Fear Condemnation with Biblical Truth

 

 

They sneak in so ninja like that we don’t even realize they are there.

But beneath our daily humdrum of life, these lies and fears poke their ugly heads up.

Perhaps it’s when you look at yourself in the mirror and nasty words flash through your head.

Or maybe it’s taking a different route to the store, and the panic sets in.

Perhaps it’s when you tell your child, “No, I can’t take you to the park today.”

 

I find in my life almost anything can trigger an emotional response, but many times these responses are unwarranted. They very often come from a deep buried lie, or fear.

Using Biblical Truths to Destroy Lies, Fear, and Condemnation.

 

That’s why I want to tell you that YOU CAN destroy these lies, fears and condemnation. Check out the video below, try it out, and tell me about it.

 

 

Truth Bomb Verses – Your Free Gift

 

I created a couple of desktop wallpapers, some postcards, and A4 sized TRUTH BOMB Verses.

Maybe they are just what you need today? I hope that they can help you in your pursuit of destruction!

Get them here.

Join our Facebook group!

If you appreciate the content, and would love to participate in the conversation.
I’d think a community is really priceless when it comes to sharing, and encouraging and enabling as we pursue living more intentionally together. I can’t tell how much I’ve reaped from other people. It’s always a blessing.

What Next?

Hop on over to the Life Worksheet page.
Don’t let life with it’s lies, and fear live you. You will find another free great resource to help you ask thoughtful questions in order to regain control.

 

Electronic Free Saturdays | How to Relax – Simply

Electronic Free Saturdays | How to Relax – Simply

Do you suffer from muddled head syndrome? Is your phone constantly blinking and vibrating? Feeling busy and overwhelmed? Do you leave the peanut butter in the fridge? Does the thought of turning off your phone for a full 24 hours cause you to squirm?

An electronic fast could be your remedy.

Two things are going to happen when you start electronic free Saturdays (or Sundays or Wednesdays..).

1. This is going to change your life!

and

2. It’s going to be tough… at first… then you’re going to LOVE IT!

 

 

Celebrating the End of the Week

 

I wrote previously about how our family celebrates the end of the week with the Shabbat. This year we included the turning off of all our electronics on Saturday.

The Result?

 

We laze around the house, play games, go for little walks, eat, and sleep. The dishes pile up on the counters (since we do no work on that day), and we aren’t constantly checking our phones for the weather forecast, or random Instagram peeks.

There are no blinking notification lights that distract us from reading books to our children, or vibrations that interrupt our own personal reading.

Instead of resorting to watching videos, we play games together – like charades, or board games.

Instead of listening to our favourite songs and musicians, we make our own music and songs. This was quite surprising to me. I didn’t realize how much of our own “homemade” music I’ve inhibited with my constant drone of Spotify.

On Saturdays, my kids and husband are singing way more of their own songs… because we create space for their music to happen.   Electronic fast

Quiet is Scary

It’s unsettling at first, as we turn off all of our attention grabbers, and background noises . Our thoughts finally have time to surface, and our spirits start to settle. Because we live in a society that is constantly entertaining us, and vetting for our attention, to be alone with our own person is a bit awkward at first.

The good thing is that it starts feeling normal, and then feeling awesome!

I look forward to Saturdays, because I know it’s ALL going to be off.

I don’t look at the clock, I don’t check the weather, and sometimes I even have to get creative and make up my own recipes (because Pinterest is also off! Ahh!)

We create an atmosphere for PEACE and it’s presence gives our Saturdays such a deep, and longed for satisfaction.

 

Looking for a Super Simple Way for  More Peace?

Electronic Free Saturdays is your SUPER SIMPLE solution for more peace in your life (albeit, challenging). It’s the first step towards quieting down your thoughts, and enjoying the moment.

It frees you to enjoy those around you – completely: with all of your attentions and affections.

So

Turn off the dang phone, the computer, the TV, and the music for 24 hours. And enjoy the quiet.   (Unless you have children… then it will just be slightly more quiet.)