Advent

Sterling Wood Church

Advent is a traditional rhythm of the church where we remember Jesus’ birth in humility while we await His return in glory. In a season typically marked by consumerism and busy schedules, remind yourself and your family of the centrality of Jesus at Christmas. 

This year we are calling the church to make Christ front and center during the Christmas season through celebrating Advent. 

It’s simple. Just download John Piper’s Good News of Great Joy Devotionals.  Pray through the prayer prompts and share your experience through the photo challenges! Our Advent devotion and photo challenge begins December 1st and ends on December 26th.

Advent is for adoring Jesus. It is an annual season of patient waiting, hopeful expectation, soul searching, and calendar watching marked by many churches, Christian families, and individual followers of Jesus. There’s no biblical mandate to observe Advent. It is optional—a tradition that developed over the course of the church’s history as a time of preparation for Christmas Day. Many of us find observing Advent to be spiritually challenging, enjoyable, and beneficial.

The English word advent is from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” The advent primarily in view each December is the first coming of Jesus two millennia ago. But Jesus’s second coming gets drawn in as well. Sterling Wood Church will be celebrating Advent from December 1st – 26th.

Christians throughout the world have their different ways of celebrating Advent and various practical ways. Some light candles. Some sing songs. Some eat candies. Some give gifts. Some hang wreaths. Many of us do all of the above. Over the centuries, we have developed many good ways of extending the celebration of Jesus’s coming beyond merely the short twenty-four hours of December 25. The incarnation of the Son of God, “for us and for our salvation,” as the old creed says, is too significant to appreciate in just one day. Indeed, it’s something we will celebrate for all eternity.

Our prayer is that this advent season might help you keep Jesus as the center and greatest treasure of your Christmas. The candles and candies have their place, but we want to make sure that in all the December rush and hubbub we adore Jesus above all.

Why Participate?

Doing the Advent Photo Challenge and Devotions will not only draw you closer to Christ daily but help others as well. The photo challenges will share Christ with others through social media, promote the true meaning of Christmas and even open some doors to invite people to come to church with you! We are excited for what these photo challenges will do in your life and those around you! So please be sure to share any stories you may have while going through these challenges. 

Also, the photo challenges are for anyone! You don’t have to be a member to follow along!

How to Participate

We have decided to use John Piper’s Good News of Great Joy Advent Devotional. You can participate in this church wide Advent experience by following us on Facebook or Instagram, subscribing via email through the button below (to receive email updates on audio files through Desiring God website) OR you can download a PDF (or purchase his book) to read along. 

On Facebook & Instagram we will be posting Advent Photo Challenges. Be sure to tag us, and use this hashtag #SWCAdventChallenge2022 so we can find your photos! More about the photo challenge below.

Daily Prayer Prompts

Prayer is central when celebrating and remembering Advent. This is why we ask you to commit to pray each day. Below you will find some prayer prompts to assist you. These prayer prompts flow from the daily devotional readings.

Christmas is about the Savior Jesus coming into the world. Let’s pray for the Lord to prepare the hearts of our family and friends that need a Savior. Pray that they come to know Jesus so this Christmas will mean so much more to them. 

Pray that we can humbly seek God in the season of Advent and be used to accomplish His will through our lives for His glory. As we pray, remember God loves those who cheerfully seek Him and share the joy that comes from knowing Christ. 

Pray that we trust and dwell on the promises of God. Remember that God is still alive and working. He wants us to trust Him in faith and wait on His provision. 

Remember God will use all things and people to accomplish His
will, pray that our hearts stay open to be used by Him.

Remember those being persecuted for the sake of Christ. Pray that we always
have room in our hearts to bless those less fortunate this Christmas season.

Pray for peace, especially in the countries that are having conflicts and wars.

Remember the savior came for all people, pray for those that have not heard the
Gospel, that they can hear and believe.

Pray that we will stay attentive to God’s timing and trust that it is always the right time.

Pray for those that God is not a part of their lives, that this Christmas they can
see the majesty of Christ born.

Let us give a gift to our  avior today, by fasting from something that may have more importance than time with God, ie.( Perhaps a 30min. show on TV, instead read God’s word for 30min.) 

If we do not need to fear our last and greatest enemy, death, then we do not need to fear anything. Pray that we can be bold in our witness to those around us.

Pray that Christ stay in the center of all our activity during our busy Holiday schedule.

Pray that God gives us the heart of reconciliation. If there are any broken relationships that we are able to mend, let us step out and make every effort to do so during the Advent season.

Pray that God will be working in our hearts, that we may understand fully we are His child because of His sacrifice for our sins.

For many Christmas is a very hard time because they have memories of those they’ve lost close to or during a Holiday. Remember not everyone can be filled with joy during the Holiday season, pray that we are sensitive to those that have suffered loss.

Pray that we keep a servant’s heart during the Holiday, remembering Jesus came to serve not be served.

With the Holiday busyness we may sometimes get short with others, let us remember to pray for an attitude of gratitude and remember God forgives us, we should forgive others.

Pray for those on the mission field. Pray for Pastor Pedro, his family and Norma Hoock in Guatemala. pray for the Shirey Family in Spain. Pray for God’s protection and provision for their lives, ministry and those around them.

Pray that we can be fearless in our communities and be an example of Christ love, you may be the only Jesus your neighbor sees during the Holiday season.

Pray that we remember Satan has no hold of us, unless we allow him in. Ask for forgiveness He is Faithful to forgive and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Remembering that Christ has always been a part of God’s plan for man’s salvation, pray that we can always trust God’s ways and put our hope in Him.

Pray that the Christmas season will never become stale in our lives, that we live everyday with Expectations of God’s mercies and grace poured out on us.

Lord, help us remember every day the Gift you gave us in Jesus Christ on that Christmas morning, let us be quick to share that Gift with our family and friends.

Pray that we remember we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us turn from the sins in our life and that God did not forsake us but provided His son to make right, what we never could.

Remember this special day that forever changed our position with God, we can now be called reconciled and forgiven. We can now be called a child of the most high God. Thank you Jesus! Happy Earthly Birthday.

Pray for the New Year and write down a name of someone (Or a few names) you want to share Christ to and commit to pray for in the coming year that Christ will come into their life.

Playlists this Christmas

Many traditional Christmas songs are rich in theology and truth. Listen and worship throughout the holiday season.

About the Photo Challenge

Capture the Moment this Christmas

We hope you will join us this season by participating in the devotionals, prayer, and photo challenges!

Why bother? This Advent experience is a pathway to a deeper relationship with the Lord that you can’t wait to share!

Prizes will be presented for those who complete all 26 days!

See the guidelines listed below.

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Download Advent Checklist

Guidelines:

1. Follow Sterling Wood on Facebook or Instagram.

2. Title your post with the Day and Challenge for that day, be sure to share a story or verse when prompted by the challenge. (Example Day 1: Pathways)

3. Read the devotionals daily. They connect with the challenges.

4. Post picture on social media, and tag Sterling Wood to be counted as complete. (Example: @sterlingwoodchurch)

5. Must use hashtag #SWCAdventChallenge2022 so we can easily find your submissions.

The guidelines must be completed for each day, Dec 1-26.

Winners will be announced New Year’s Day.