The season of advent looks forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus - and also looks forward to that day when Jesus has promised that he will return back to the earth and make all things right - the second coming of Christ - back to the Mount of Olives in Israel.
What does it mean for me?
Well, you've probably got or had an Advent Calendar - usually of 25 days - counting down to Christmas. If you've got a good calendar it'll have a chocolate behind it. If it's a great calendar, it will even have a tasty chocolate behind it...
But Advent makes us think about what Jesus did when he came to earth, humbling himself and being obedient to God even to death on a cross, so that he could make a way for people who believe in him to be made right with God and then live for eternity in heaven.
Advent is also a message for hope for people who are struggling or Christians who are being persecuted for their faith. It is also a chance for us to show the love of Jesus in more real ways than we should be doing all year round!
Here's a few good Advent ideas for you this Christmas... If you haven't got an Advent Calendar yet, get one with Fairtrade chocolate in, so that those people who pick cocoa beans get a fair price for their work. Don't be part of the problem of poverty - be part of the solution :)
1. God has given you so much, why not do something good each day really specifically - to do good to others (see Romans 15.2). So do a kind act, give someone a present, give someone a text or message to encourage them, help with something extra at home, do something extra at school...
2. If you think that each bit of chocolate in your advent calendar costs something, why not put some money each day in a container or box, cup etc. Get other people like your friends and family to do the same. At the end of advent, put all the money together and donate it to a good cause.
3. We've done an Advent Calendar to print off - use these calendars to learn verses of the Bible and use them to pray for people each day.
4. Have you got any good ideas for Advent to be the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus this Christmas?
Download Our Advent Calendars
These aren't designed greatly because they're intended for you to either print off and give to young people! If you'd like some high quality designed ones, let us know!
This is simply designed on an A4 page to be printed off (use card or slightly thick paper) and fold in half.
These are designed to be printed off on good paper. Then place the 'Advent Calendar' one over the Bible verses one and carefully glue it on. You may also need to make slight cuts on 3 sides of each window box (to help the user 'open' the boxes in time!)
Here is a basic guide to glue the two sides of paper together (sorry it's a bit obvious and basic!)
Ask God to give you opportunities to show his love this Advent. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you little nudges when he has something specific for you to do or say. Make a commitment to God to focus on him each day of Advent, to read his Word and guide you to live for him. Ask for his help - we need him!
Happy Christmas - and make it a Happy Christmas for others around you too as much as you can!