What should be in your Advent calendar?
Advent calendars have been around since the middle of the 1800s. But they’ve been taken to a new level in the last few years.
Gone are the days of those flimsy Cadbury's ones, where the chocolates fall down the back. Everybody from Aldi to Charlotte Tilbury and The Bearded Man Company have got calendars bursting with luxuries.
But what do these calendars have to do with Christmas? Not much, to be honest.
Given we’re all about celebrating the Christ of the first Christmas, it would be easy to give up on Advent altogether.
But beneath the ribbon and wrapping is an opportunity that that would be crazy to miss.
A better gift
Advent may have been hi-jacked, but it really is a Christian thing. It's been celebrated by Christians for 1,700 years.
For many down the years, Advent has been a picture of life in the ‘last days' before Jesus returns (2 Timothy 3:1).
When I was a kid, my parents would let me open the door of my calendar each morning to calm my excitement for the presents coming on Christmas Day.
And, as Christians, we make our way through life excitedly waiting for an even better gift – the gift of an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).
A better day
Over the next four weeks many will wake up excited to open a little gift behind a little door as they wait for Christmas Day.
But make sure that you make the most of this Advent. Whatever’s in your calendar, it should be a reminder - a pointer - to a better day than today.
Because each morning we can wake up looking forward to a gift that will last forever. The day when Christ returns for his people (Hebrews 9:28).
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.