If regular personal devotions are not part of our lives, Advent would be a time tailor-made to begin.  We remember that God changed the adults in Deuteronomy 11 to "lay up these words of mind in your heart and in your soul" (v. 18, emphasis mine), and that he expects us to "love the LORD [our] God" (v.1).  The living water in our own hearts is the fountain from which we shower Christ on our family.  Our time with God and his preparation of us is a necessary foundation.  Without it our Christmas activities will degenerate into hoopla. 

But however much we want a significant Christmas celebration for our families, that is not the primary reason for our contemplation and self-examination.  Our deeper motivation is the strengthening of our ultimate hope in Jesus, "so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming (1 John 2:28).

May this time be a reflection of what our lives are – gratitude for the promises that were fulfilled when god gave us the gift of his Son and anticipation of and preparation for Christ's coming again.

 

From "Treasuring God in Our Traditions" by Noël Piper, © 2003, pages 76-80.  Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org.

Noël Piper and her husband, John, have ministered since 1980 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  They have four adult sons, one school-aged daughter, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.  Noël is a graduate of Wheaton College (B.A.).

10For more information or to order a Noël Calendar, visit www.desiringGOD.org or call 888-346-4700 (toll-free).