Welcome to the season of Advent in 2023!
This year, I'll share a short watercolor video each weekend to celebrate Advent. Advent is the season before Christmas (typically celebrated the four Sundays before Christmas).
Advent celebrates the anticipation and expectation of Christ coming, both as Jesus as a baby and His second return.
In the first week, I briefly touch on a few of the verses that told about Jesus' birth several hundred years before his arrival: Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6.
In the hustle and bustle of this most wonderful time of the year, it is easy to get caught up in the constant activity. Celebrating Advent and Christ's coming helps keep us focused on what is beyond the here and now and lifts our hearts and minds about all that eats away at our hearts and minds.
How to Use These Advent Projects
Life is busy. Life is challenging. It doesn't stop because Advent and Christmas are here!
My goal is to provide an encouraging way to settle into Advent without feeling weighed down by a lot of extra things to do. I wanted a creative project to focus on Advent and Jesus, without a lot of effort on completing a big project. Something simple to turn my gaze up and out, from me to Him.
These watercolors are simple, intended to be done in less than 15 minutes.
I share a few verses for you to look up and reflect on with a question or two to consider. You might want to write a prayer on the back of the watercolor about the theme.
Week 1 is about waiting in the silence. The prohecies we discuss were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. The people of Israel experienced 400 years of silence - God did not speak nor speak through prophets - between the time of Malachi and the New Testament time period begins.
Yet God's timetable was moving forward. God was working and God was waiting.
He still works and He still waits.
Waiting is hard. We are finite and don't understand the why's. But God is always faithful, always trustworthy. Even though I don't understand the reasons behind the waiting, in my life and in situations in the world around me, I know He is working and fulfilling every promise.
How do you struggle with waiting?
Does it comfort you to think of God waiting?
After reflecting on the verses, how might you worship God this week?
Each week I'll add the video as well as a short prompt for journaling and reflection.
You can also view the videos on the YouTube channel here.
Advent Week 2 - Waiting in Faithfulness
What does it look like to wait in faithfulness, even when the answer to our desires doesn't appear to be coming?
This week we look at the life of Zechariah and Elizabeth as I create their home (from my imagination, of course) and ponder the story of their lives.
Their story resonates with me deeply this year in a few ways. As I read and thought about Luke 1, here are a few questions and thoughts:
1. The angel, Gabriel, greets Zechariah and states, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son..." (vs. 13).
In verse 7, we are told they were advanced in years. Surely they had not been praying for a child for many years (even decades!). And yet here was an answer to their prayers and perhaps an even greater answer - God had been listening all along.
2. This couple is described as "blameless" and "righteous." Even though they had not received what they wanted it had not diminished their determination to live faithfully before God.
What does faithful living look like to you? What did that mean for Zechariah and Elizabeth in their time? What about us?
"Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people." Luke 1:25
Advent Week 3 - Joy, Present and Future
This week we continue in Luke 1. We look at Elizabeth and Mary as they rejoice in the joy of their pregnancies and their time together. They experienced joy in the Lord's mercy and grace towards them.
Then, we zoom forward just a bit to glance at the town of Bethlehem, thick with people coming for the census. The shepherds are doing their job, taking care of their flocks around the hills of Bethlehem. They had no idea of the joy that was going to come to them directly!
How about you?
As we wait in expectation during Advent, what are you waiting for that will bring joy?
Where are you experiencing joy in the present, in the way you walk with Jesus in the everyday routines of life?
Week 4 - Joy & Celebration
Week 4 of Advent coincides with Christmas Eve this year. I think this makes Christmas Eve extra special.
I also had a hard time separating Advent and Christmas from this episode! So we talk and paint through the joy and celebration of the birth of Jesus.
As we finish the season of Advent and complete this last painting, I hope you find time, even 15 minutes of quiet time with Jesus, to worship and adore the WayMaker, the Messiah, the Hope of the world, and the Joy of our lives.
What has this season of Advent meant to you? How is focusing on Jesus bringing fresh joy into your life?