ADVENT for Adults and Teens

What do you put in those cute little Advent envelopes & boxes so that hearts and minds are drawn toward the coming of Christ?

That’s a question that has been puzzling me for the last several years.  Especially since there are so many adorable options for Advent activities these days.  And, even more especially now, this question plagues me as we have a family of teenagers who will give only reluctant resign to “Mom’s little Advent Activity”  – unless it has meaning and value to their current lives.

Because Advent means awaiting the “Coming” or “Arrival” of something for which we long, Advent calendars can be used in the counting up/down to a variety of special days.  For many adults and teens alike, Christmas Advent is still the looking toward and the counting of the days until the arrival of Santa.  For others, it is the receiving of little gifts leading up to the unwrapping of the big gifts on Christmas morning.  Some will use the Advent countdown as an opportunity to daily do kind acts of love and service for others (because God did the ultimate act of love for us through Jesus.)

Though there is nothing wrong with these count-downs, for the one who has received the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, shouldn’t observing Advent mean something more than a countdown to the day when we get more gifts?  Shouldn’t we be teaching our children/teens and reminding ourselves that Christmas Advent means more than Santa’s arrival or getting the things they’ve been wanting for the last several months and doing nice things for others?

This year I ordered several Advent devotional books compiled from the writings of previous century lovers of God, and am convinced more than ever that the celebration of Christmas Advent is more of a holy humility than our children’s festive opening of surprise boxes.

As I read what British Bible Translator J.B. Phillips (1906-1982) wrote about the “Dangers of Advent,” I was struck anew of the true meaning of Christmas Advent.

“By far the most important and significant event in the whole course of human history will be celebrated, with or without understanding at the end of this season, Advent.  The towering miracle of God’s visit to this planet on which we live will be glossed over, brushed aside or rendered impotent by over-familiarity.  Even by the believer the full weight of the event is not always appreciated… Does he, for instance, as he daily treads the surface of this planet, reflect with confidence that “my God has been here, here on this earth”?…

We rejoice int he fact that God has actually been here – and that is one half of the meaning of Advent.  But there is another half…The second coming of Christ, the second irruption of eternity into time, will be immediate, violent and conclusive.  The human experiment is to end, illusion will give way to reality, the temporary will disappear before the permanent, and the king will be seen for who he is.  The thief in the night, the lightning flash, the sound of the last trumpet, the voice of God’s archangel – these may all be picture-language, but they are pictures of something sudden, catastrophic, and decisive…

This is what the New Testament teaches.  This is the message of Advent.  It is for us to be alert, vigilant and industrious, so that his coming will not be a terror but an overwhelming joy…The particular danger which faces us as Christmas approaches is unlikely to be contempt for the sacred season, but nevertheless our familiarity with it may easily produce in us a kind of indifference.  The true wonder and mystery may leave us unmoved; familiarity may easily blind us to the shining fact that lies at the heart of Christmastide.”

J.B. Phillips, from Watch for the Light, Nov. 26

In other Advent readings, I’m learning that to prepare for Advent is really to actively prepare for the second coming of Jesus.  So… what can I do today to prepare for His return?  And how does that translate to those cute little boxes and envelopes and strings of tiny stockings we use each December?

I’m not yet sure I know the answers to these questions.  But I am on a path of discovery, and am finding that in the same way that we count down until Christmas and make preparations with the 25th of December in mind, we also need to make preparations with the coming end of this age in mind.

What would you do to prepare for the end of the world as you know it?  Besides the logical physical and financial preparations, I would want to make sure that my heart and the hearts of my loved ones were ready.  Wouldn’t you?  Because when it’s all said and done, the heart is the only thing that will last anyway.

So with the help of the Lord, I have compiled a 25 day count-down (or count-up) list of activities to keep us “alert, vigilant, and industrious” (as J.B. Phillips stated) as we await the return of The King of All Kings, King Jesus.  He won’t come quietly and humbly this next time… No… this next time, He will come in majesty and righteousness and vengeance and justice.  And He expects us to be ready!

Whether you have a family at home and have those darling advent calendars or not, this activity is for everyone who is looking toward the coming Lord Jesus.  Take one a day and work through it, asking Jesus to prepare YOU as you await His coming with vigilance.  I’ll get you started here, then will post one each day on the “Keeping Christ AS Christmas” Facebook page.  Feel free to print each day and tuck it in your own Advent calendar.  {Next year, it will be fully written and ready to print and cut apart and use.  This year, we’re basically writing it one day at a time. 😉 }

This is a serious preparation, a soul-searching Advent.  One not to be taken lightly.  One in which I pray will prepare us to meet Jesus, both in the here/now and on that blessed day when He comes to take us Home.

2016 – Edited to add: My friends, I have pulled these devotions because I’ve compiled them into a book that I pray will be released for Christmas Advent Season 2017.  But please do see the recommended books below and check out one of them. They are WONDERFUL!  

Also, this is a FREE Advent devotional from  Click here to download it.  

PS:  These are two of the Advent Books I’m currently reading:

Watch For the Light

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus


Adult & Teen Advent Day 1

Day 1 

Fall on your face before the Lord.  Humble yourself before Him and Bow your heart to Him.  How long has it been since you’ve laid yourself (or your heart) flat before the Lord?  This is an act of submission, worship, and recognition of the fact that He, alone, is God and we absolutely are NOT!

“…The first step in learning is bowing down to God.”  Proverbs 1:7, NLT

Falling on our faces before the Lord accomplishes several important works.  It

  • Reminds us of God’s authority and rule over all things
  • Reminds us of our own smallness and humility
  • Reminds us that we answer to the Lord, and not to ourselves
  • Reminds us that we are sinners in great need of a Savior
  • Reminds us that we belong to Him and He will take care of His own
  • Reminds us that our attempts at holiness are worthless without Him
  • Reminds us to remain humble as we seek Him for our needs
  • Allows us to arise in an adjusted frame of mind, acknowledging our deep need of Jesus.

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is our God.
We are the people He watches over,
the flock under His care.  If only you would listen to His voice today!    Psalm 95:6-7, NLT



Prepare Hearts for tHIS CHRISTmas

E-book by Jennifer: Keeping Christ AS Christmas: Preparing hearts, households, and homes for PEACE this Christmas season.  Click here for more details, and “like”the Keeping Christ AS Christmas facebook page to share YOUR ideas on keeping Jesus as the Center of the Christmas season.



About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. Thank you Jennifer, I too will be following with you. It is so easy to get caught up in all the things about Christmas and not keep Christ at the centre of Christmas.

  2. Love this Jennifer and following along with you…. here and on FB!


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