Can something be too beneficial? too good for you? too perfect?
Let me break it down here... can too much of a good thing be harmful?
Advent did not catch me by surprise this year as it has in the past. Our Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts have been swarmed with ideas to prepare my family for Christmas during this Advent season. There are so many good ideas! They seem promising (and fun!) for my family to focus on Jesus during this busy and materialistic season that our culture promotes. GOOD!
Most Advent ideas are countdown calendars. There are simple calendars with paper doors that open to bible passages or some mediocre chocolate that somehow tastes better because of its adorableness. Whoever came up with that idea is genius! Anyhow, there are other Advent countdown calendars that guide families to create ornaments for their Christmas tree with bible readings, paper link chains with bible passages to read on the inside, hymn sing togethers, daily advent devotions, Jesse Tree journeys, and even some that have a countdown list for good things to do for others. I have used some of these Advent activities and recommend them. GOOD!
So, how can good preparations for Christmas become bad for me? How can I become too "adventageous"?
When all of these good preparations for Christmas take my focus away from Jesus - the source and heart of Christmas.
And ladies, I sit here typing with only one hand while my other one is raised because I am guilty. I am SO guilty of over scheduling myself and my family. It is the first week of Advent goodness and already I have rushed to events, practices, and pulled an all nighter preparing for this coming Christmas. I want to echo Amber's words, "I Can(t) Do It All!" I have learned a lesson.
My checklists, Jesse tree ornaments, music performances, Advent by Candlelight, children's Christmas service plans, family get togethers and Christmas dreams have me burned out.
If Jesus came back today am I ready? Like Jesus' parable about the 10 virgins in Matthew 25, my oil lamp feels empty.
Now, this post isn't written to make us feel stressed out or guilty but rather that we find peace. If we never miss a day on our Advent schedules, or if we skip a couple of days, or start with the best intentions and do not complete our tasks... we can find rest this Christmas.
A successful Christmas does not rely on how many things we prepare to do this time of year. Christmas was successful 2,000 years ago!
God prepared his Son to come to this earth at the exact time that was necessary for our salvation.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6-8
Are we ready for Advent? Are we ready for Christmas? Is that really the important question?
I pray that above everything else during Advent we remember that God prepared FOR our salvation back then and is preparing FOR us even now.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. - John 14:1-4
We don't know when Jesus will return, we can't see God's calendar, but we can always trust his schedule. God is perfectly "adventageous" for us.
Click here to print off the bible study that goes along with this blog post!
1. Share! How do you prepare for Christmas during Advent?
2. Discuss! How can good preparations for Christmas become bad for us? How can we become too "adventageous"? 3. Read Matthew 25:1-13! How can we be prepared for Jesus‘ second coming? Give specifics.
4. Discuss! How can we properly balance Advent to avoid burnout?
5. Read Romans 5:6-8! Where do you find peace in these passages? Where do you find hope?
6. Read John 14:1-7! In verse 4 Jesus says that the disciples knew the way to the place where he was going. What is the way to the Father? (vs. 6)
*If you use the bible study in a group or share it with another please give source credit to me and the blog. Thank you!
During the rest of the week you can find me at our private online bible study Facebook group where we dive deeper into God’s word and talk about it. If you want to be a part of the bible study I highly recommend being a part of the Facebook group where we get to know you more and be mutually encouraged! The Facebook group is private so any information that you share will be seen only by those allowed in the group.
You can join the Facebook online bible study group by clicking here.