"Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. O LORD God of hosts, restore us; Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved." Psalms 80:2

Yes. If you meant to include Advent in your Christmas celebration this year, it officially started on Sunday, November 27, 2011. Sorry. But, if you're like me—sometimes a few days late and a few dollars short for things—don't let a little detail like that stop you from joining in now.

Advent is meant to focus our thoughts on Christ, and there's never a wrong time for that.

This ancient Christian tradition—often eclipsed in modern times by glitter and gifts—helps us ponder why we need a Savior and teaches us to anticipate Christ's coming with joy. To be honest, I'm not an expert on Advent. I didn't grow up in a family that celebrated it. i've read about it and heard others say how helps them slow down and focus on God amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays. More importantly for my wife and me, Advent has been said to help make a lasting impression about spiritual truths on the hearts of children. So, this year, we've decided to formally celebrate Advent for the first time. I'll hopefully be able to give a positive update about how it went for the Crain family in a future edition of crosswalk the devotional.

If you missed the first Sunday of Advent, don't let that deter you from catching up. The above Scripture in Psalm 80 was from the list of readings this past Sunday, so be encouraged. You're already on your way! Advent wreaths, candles, and calendars can be found online or in local bookstores. Most important is the reading, sharing, and reflection on God's Word. In fact, here is a 25-day christmas bible reading plan with selected Scriptures for each day in December up to Christmas Day. It begins December 1, 2011. 

See? You're not late for everything. 

Alex Crain is the editor of Christianity.com and BibleStudyTools.com. He is a contributing editor for Crosswalk.com and Jesus.org. He has served pastorally at various churches in the areas of teaching, outreach, small groups and worship ministries. He also serves as the pastor of worship at harvest christian fellowship in Mechanicsville, VA. Alex and Aileen Crain have been married since 1995 and are grateful for two sons.


Alex blogs at Christianity.com. You can follow him on Twitter @alex_crain