a longer Advent

Every year, around mid-December I can be found frantically organizing fun holiday activities, searching aimlessly for Christmas gifts, and baking up a storm. It's all very spiritual.

My heart is usually not ready in the way I'd like it to be, come December 24th as we flip through the pages of Isaiah to read the prophesies of old. With three young kids and all of our family out of town, Christmas often becomes a hectic combination of long drives, arranging visits, and managing chaos. And I'm done with it.

Every year I say I should do a proper Advent Bible study in December, and every year it gets pushed back, or I skip enough days to make it unfruitful. And the looming temptation is also to make Christmas not about Christ at all, but about winter activities, gift giving, and materialism. None of which are evil in themselves, but they join together to give Jesus a run for his money, and focus shifts.

You may laugh, but here's my plan this year. Advent starts September 1st.

I've done the math, and if I read approximately 8 chapters of the Bible a day (which will take around 25 minutes), I will read the entire Old Testament by December 24th. This year, instead of a couple weeks of one-off verses and activities, I'm planning to read the whole Old Testament, in hopes of building gradual and focused anticipation for the coming Rescuer who was born to save us.

Jesus said in Luke 24:44, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The whole Old Testament is about him. About people waiting for him. About people longing to be rescued. About their failed attempts to save themselves. About a God who loved them enough to make a way, though it would cost him everything.

So I'm going to read it as a sweeping narrative. I won't be taking time to study any of the books in depth. That is generally how I read the Bible, but for Advent I want to have a big picture of the Old Testament, and I believe the best way to do that is to read it consistently and quickly in a (relatively) short period of time. I'll be aiming to read 10 chapters a day, knowing that there will be days I can't reach my quota (like the day Psalm 119 is on the docket!), and other days when I'll be able to read more.

We are also buying The Biggest Story to read with our kids regularly throughout Fall and leading up to Christmas. I have a feeling it will become a family favourite.

If you're like me every year leading up to Christmas, and looking for something different this year, why not join me? I know it's only September and Christmas is the last thing on your minds, but maybe that's the best part.


  1. This is a good idea! I will join you.

  2. What a great idea! I've actually been thinking a lot about Christmas recently too. My plan is to have gifts bought by October so that it's one less thing I have to focus on. :)

    1. I remember as a child, my grandmother would ask me around July or August each year what I wanted for Christmas. I always thought it was hilarious that she wanted to get her shopping done so early. But I think I get it now. It's hard to really anticipate the coming of Christ when December is often filled with shopping and baking and exams and year end for work, etc.
      Emily, this sounds like a great idea!