Quick link: Download our Advent and Christmas Devotion Guide
Background on Advent and Christmas
The word “Advent” means coming. For many years, churches have celebrated Advent for the four weeks leading up to Christmas and the focus has been on preparing for the birth of Jesus. But ancient Christians observed Advent differently. For them, it was a season of about seven weeks and the focus was on repentance, fasting, and preparing for Jesus’ second coming. As the days grew darker during winter, Advent was a reminder that God shines in a dark world and Jesus will return one day to make all things new. This year, we will observe Advent in this ancient way: for seven weeks with a focus on waiting and watching for God in a dark world.
For Christmas this year, we encourage you to celebrate a little differently too. In our culture, the lead-up to Christmas begins on Black Friday (or often earlier!) and culminates on Christmas morning. By noon on Christmas Day, we’ve often moved on. But Christians have historically celebrated Christmas for twelve days from December 25 through January 5 (these twelve days are the basis of the famous song). We do not host a service on Christmas Day or a worship service on Sunday, December 28. But we encourage you to celebrate Christmas on your own or with family from Dec 25-Jan 5.
For more background on this history and our approach this year, click here to listen to our first Advent message.
Please take note of our holiday schedule for your own planning
- Seven Sundays of Advent: Nov 10, 17, 24 and Dec 1, 8, 15, 22
- Join us each Sunday morning at 9am at NDC
- Wednesday, Dec 18: The Longest Night Service | 7pm at NDC
- The holidays can be tough if you’re grieving. This year, we’re hosting a special service for those who have experienced loss and hardship in the past year or are currently struggling through a dark season.
- Tuesday, Dec 24: Christmas Eve Service | 5pm at NDC
- Dec 25 – Jan 5: Twelve Days of Christmas (celebrate at home)
- Sunday, Dec 29: no service
- Our custom is to not have a worship service on the final Sunday of the year when many people are traveling or spending time with family. We encourage everyone to pursue rest and renewal.
- Sunday, Jan 5: new series begins | 9am at NDC
Advent and Christmas Devotions
We believe it is important to observe Advent and Christmas not just during worship services at NDC but at home on your own. So we’ve put together a Devotion Guide that you can download here. Here are a few instructions for using the Devotion Guide.
- During Advent (beginning Sunday November 10), set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of dinner at least three times each week
- One devotion with three questions is provided for each week; reflect on a different question each time you do the devotion by yourself or with roommates or your family
- At the beginning of the devotion, light a candle (if it is your custom to use an Advent wreath, feel free to do that and add additional candles for this year; or simply have one candle you light each time you do the devotion)
- As you read through the devotion, if you are a family, have each person contribute by reading the opening prayer, part or all of the Bible passage, or the closing blessing at the end
- For the Bible passage, you can use a printed Bible (we recommend the NIV, NLT, or Message translations) or the Bible app on your phone
- A song is included to play for each devotion – don’t skip that part!
- The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25, do the included devotion each night during dinner in the same manner (different Bible passages and songs are provided for all twelve days)
- If you missed a Sunday sermon, subscribe to our podcast to listen.
- NDC member Ellie Shinn is painting artwork for each week of Advent; look for it in the NDC foyer or on our Instagram feed; reflect what you see in each painting
- Music is an important way to engage any season; we have provided Spotify playlists for both Advent and Christmas – these include the song for each devotion