Experiencing Advent

I have a confession to make. Before I get to it, let me set the stage for it…

Since the beginning of our marriage, Kellie and I had a rule: “thou shalt not play Christmas music in our house prior to Thanksgiving.” So while 100.3 FM starts playing it on November 1st, we wouldn’t tune in until the day after Thanksgiving. And if you broke this rule at your house, I’d judge you. 🙂

That was the way it has always been. Until this year.

Due to intense pressure from Faith, Evelyn, and Elizabeth, we have been locked into 100.3 FM since last Sunday. I’m not blaming them. Well, maybe I am. 🙂

Here’s my confession… I have really been enjoying it. 🙂

As I thought about how the Kopp household tuned into “Detroit’s Christmas Station” earlier this year, what we did mirrors what is happening in our culture when it comes to Christmas. About a month ago we were in Kohl’s and they already had all of their Christmas decorations up… before Halloween.

And many stores are open on Thanksgiving Day this year for the first time ever and many others are having “Black Friday” deals already.

With this flurry of activity, it is easy to lose “the reason for the season” in the midst of it. So I believe it is more important than ever for Christians to have a plan between now and Christmas Day on what you will do to raise your spiritual temperature… instead of allowing it to drop as fast as the thermometer outside will drop between now and the new year.

By the way, for almost 2,000 years Christians have had a “plan” how to do this. It’s the season known as Advent. And that is why I created an Experiencing Advent handout for my church and why I want everyone of you to have a copy as well. (Click HERE for your free copy).

Here’s a glimpse of what is inside of it:

  • The 12 Days of Christmas is one of the most well known Christmas Carols… even if we don’t remember if there were 8 or 7 “swans a swimming”! Instead of 12 DAYS of Christmas, here are 12 WAYS of Christmas — a dozen very practical ways to live differently from the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • A Bible Reading Plan. It was adapted from The Book of Common Prayer which has been used by Christians from many different denominations since it was originally published in the 16th century. Think about this — during Advent you will be reading the same Scriptures that millions of Christians around the world are reading! You will all be on the same page…literally.
  • Info on praying and fasting during Advent.
  • Ideas how to “help those who need help” who are often forgotten, especially during the holiday season.
  • Discussion questions to process by yourself, with your family, your friends, or small group.

It’s a week before Thanksgiving. The craziness of the Christmas season is just beginning. May you live differently this year. May you not wake up physically exhausted and spiritually depleted on December 26th. May you press into the season of Advent and reach new heights on your spiritual journey between now and Christmas Day.

***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. My sermon will focus on the death of Jesus in Matthew 27:45-56. Doing a deep dive into the events of Good Friday — just as we are about to head into the craziness of the Christmas season — will help us not lose Jesus in the midst of parties and shopping. 10:30am. The Eastside Vineyard Church gathers inside Shelby Jr. High School (51700 Van Dyke, north of 23 Mile Rd.). More info at tevchurch.org***

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About Dan Kopp

In 2010 Dan and Kellie felt the call by God to plant a church somewhere in Macomb County, Michigan. Several months later The Eastside Vineyard Church launched and currently meets inside Shelby Jr. High in Shelby Township. This blog began in the pre-launch phase of the church and has exceeded 50,000 hits. Thanks for reading!
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