The Advent season is a time of joyful anticipation and reflection for Christians around the world.
Typically observed on the four Sundays (or weekends) leading up to Christmas, Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and minds to commemorate the anniversary of our Savior’s birth and make ready for His return at the end of the age.
Many Christian households and churches use an Advent wreath with candles, to mark the progression of time—lighting one candle every weekend. Each candle represents a different theme—hope, peace, joy, and love—and believers often follow a set of Scripture readings that emphasize one of the themes. On Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve), a candle—often white—at the center of the wreath, is lit symbolizing the arrival of Christ.
This sacred time of preparation is also an opportune moment to engage in intentional discipleship. Discipling others during the Advent season allows us to share the transformative message of hope, love, joy, and peace found in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As with any other discipleship journey, it is important to begin Advent with prayerful preparation.
Seek God’s guidance on how to approach this unique opportunity. Christmas is a time of year when many people can be distracted by the materialism associated with gift– giving and/or feel overwhelmed due to numerous social calls and responsibilities. Taking a moment to share and reflect on the goodness of God allows us to put the arrival of Jesus—God’s promised gift to the world—in proper perspective. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and a heart filled with the love of Christ.
Here are 5 steps to disciple others during the Advent Season:
1. Start with a Foundation based on Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17):
Effective discipleship must be rooted in the timeless truths of the Scriptures. Equip those you disciple with the Word of God. Emphasize the prophecies and promises that find fulfillment in the birth of Jesus. Explore passages from the Old Testament that foretell the coming Messiah and connect the dots to Christ’s fulfillment in the New Testament.
2. Share the Good News (Luke 2:10-11):
Encourage the person (or people) you are discipling to actively share the good news of Jesus’s birth. Just as the angels proclaimed tidings of great joy to the shepherds, we, too have the privilege of sharing the incredible news of God’s love. Remember, the Gospel message should be communicated with clarity and compassion.
3. Cultivate a Spirit of Generosity (Matthew 2:10-11):
The Advent season presents us with an opportunity to follow the example of the Magi who presented gifts to the infant Jesus. Encourage the people in your life to share the love of Christ through acts of kindness, generosity, and service to others, embodying the true meaning of Christmas. Be sure to lead by example.
4. Embrace Patience and Perseverance (Galatians 6:9):
Discipleship is a journey that requires patience and perseverance. Advent season is an opportune moment to highlight the importance of waiting on the Lord and trusting in His timing. Remind those around you that we wait with hopeful expectation for Christ’s return, just as the world waited for the arrival of the Messiah.
5. Foster a Community of Believers (Hebrews 10:24-25):
Emphasize the significance of coming together to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to support and encourage one another in the faith. Christmas provides numerous opportunities for fellowship, worship, and communal activities. Encourage the Christ followers in your life to actively participate in a community of believers.
Jesus is the Reason for the Season
The beauty of the Advent season can be seen through the expression of our faith as we share the significance of Christ’s birth through discipleship. By anchoring our discipleship efforts in prayer, Scripture, evangelism, generosity, patience, and community, we can lead others to a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas – the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.