[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]

Focus Verse of the Week

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)


So, in an effort to slow down and focus on the true heart of Christmas, I've found myself returning to those blissful childhood days. This time, though, it’s not to relive the legend of Santa Claus or to justify eating an entire batch of cookies solo, but for one simple tradition: Advent.

You see, along with all the usual holiday trappings, I was raised in a family that practiced this ancient Christian tradition. Advent (which comes from the Latin term “adventus,” meaning “arrival”) is marked by the four Sundays preceding Christmas, and is a season set aside to help Christians prepare....

In layman's terms, Advent prepares us not only to commemorate Jesus' first, humble arrival in a manger, but also helps us more fully invite Christ into our present lives while anticipating His final, glorious coming. Christians of all backgrounds can benefit from preparing for Christmas through Advent. The spiritual focus offers a meaningful way to cut through the madness of the secular Christmas season as well as an opportunity to mature in our faith in Christ.

(Adapted from Renew Your Faith by Celebrating Advent.)

A Thought to Keep

As we remember the first coming of Christ, keep in mind the Second Coming. Find ways to celebrate and share the hope you have in our returning King.