Christmas Eve is drawing near. If you’re struggling to connect with the Lord, rest in Him, and focus on the true reason for the season, this FREE Advent Bible Reading Plan is a great idea for you!
I struggled with resting and self-care in the past. But it seemed the season of Advent brought the worst exhaustion and stress of the year.
If you’re the head or mom of the household, serving and caring for others, and trying to remember all of the things related to the needs of the whole family and the holiday season, you know what I’m talking about!
There’s just so much we’re expected to remember and do!
That said, an important Christian tradition of Advent (typically through the entire month of December) is to prepare our hearts and create a sense of anticipation for the birth of Christ, focus on our faith and eternal life, and the future return of Jesus.
In the past, I often thought, “How in the world do I balance the busyness of the season and find the time to rest so I can be calm and at peace to prepare my heart?”
I knew I wanted to experience the rest and calm of Advent. I even wrote it down in my weekly plan.
The problem was that my worst periods of overwhelm occurred in the busyness of the Christmas season. Then, often caught up in traditions (usually way too many), I would hit the wall of burnout.
Every. Single. Time.
Why I Needed an Advent Bible Reading Plan
I suppose part of the problem was I also saw it as an Advent task instead of an Advent journey.
Preparing for the arrival of Jesus is more than decorating the Christmas tree and completing even the good things on the to-do list. This isn’t a great way to celebrate the season of Advent.
So, if you’re struggling a bit (and if that’s why you’re here), I can relate and I can help you.
I wanted to connect with the Lord, but after trying and failing many times, I wondered if I was going about it wrong, but I didn’t know what to change.
So, for the longest time, I would ignore my soul’s desires. I’d just push through the season (imagine a football player running with the ball with his arm straight out knocking all of the people and barriers out of the way!). That was me, only not so good at actually knocking the barriers out of the way!
But when my daughter was born, she had some special needs and I just couldn’t do it all anymore. I remember how incredibly exhausted I was during that special season.
There were many tears but it led me to seriously pray about it and my life changed!
Start with the Holy Spirit to Find Peace and Calm During Advent
I discovered that I was going about resting with the Lord all wrong. Now, looking back I would go as far as to say I was doing it backward!
Specifically, I was trying to find the peace, calm, and rest of the Christmas story in my human effort.
I thought I could just adjust my schedule, get a little rest, and then take in whatever I was supposed to be doing and learning at church during the Sundays of Advent.
I was so far off.
Plus, here’s what happened. I cleared my schedule (a little). Then put ‘self-care appointments’ on it (like nails, pedi, and even a massage!) thinking that would help me rest. But then I felt guilty about saying no or removing tasks and PUT THEM BACK ON.
So then I was extremely overscheduled, spent lots of money, and didn’t feel rested (even during the massage!).
There’s a better way to focus on the Lord and prepare for Jesus’ birth. It’s what I hope you do this season.
Looking for a way to stay motivated about taking better care of yourself? Check out my Bible study by clicking my affiliate link:
Remember What the Purpose of Advent is
The purpose of Advent is to connect with the Lord to let Him give you rest. (But how exactly do we do that I remember asking?)
The answer is found in the definition of knowing what God’s rest means.
The rest we’re seeking, and what He provides, is knowing and truly understanding that we are saved from our sins because we accept Christ as our savior (with the final consummation of His rest occurring with the second coming of Christ). This is the reason for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and is good news of great joy!
Hebrews 4:3 (NLT) explains it below (in fact I realized in the past year that Hebrews 4 is all about God’s rest).
“For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world.”
When you understand the meaning of what God’s rest is, you begin to see that He is at the center of the verse.
In fact, as always, putting Christ first allows you to better prioritize everything else and this includes rest during Advent!
Use an Advent Bible Reading Plan to Slow Down
Understanding God’s rest, deep in our souls, is what helps us slow down, trust, and savor God’s promises.
It made me come to an abrupt stop (like an EF Hutton moment if you’re old enough to get the reference:) and realize how many of the activities I was practically killing myself doing weren’t important…at all.
But here’s what else I learned.
God provides the ultimate rest, and we can carry this knowledge with us throughout the season.
But we need to do an honest assessment of ourselves. Explore and ask, “What other areas of myself can I offer rest?” And to get right to the point ask yourself, “Am I truly going to experience, soak in, and savor God’s rest if I only observe it an hour or two on Sundays during Advent and then go back to living a chaotic life?”
I didn’t think so. I felt compelled to apply it to all parts of my life.
Use an Advent Bible Reading Plan to Bring Rest and Calm into Your Life
You may find many small ways that you aren’t taking care of yourself in a way that prioritizes rest.
But, you may find really big things too!
You may even find you’re working against your goal of deepening your understanding of rest & the worship that God deserves!
If you’re like me, you may find your holiday lifestyle honors and worships the busyness of society and the midst of traditions around you.
This Free Printable Advent Bible Reading Plan Was Created
I dug into Scripture and prayerfully thought about how I could honor the Lord during the season of Advent by how I took care of my mind, body, and soul.
As I studied my list of meaningful verses I had written down, I saw how my list of verses fell into the various self-care categories.
That helped me see my life in a whole new way.
I created reflective questions and actions to go with the verses and now I prayerfully do a self-examination every Advent Season.
Improving our self-care, as a way to honor and glorify God, is a way to worship the Lord. What better time to do this than Advent?
Why is Advent a Good Time for Self-reflection?
I use these very simple tools to review my self-care activities and attitudes every Advent season and I’m so thankful that now I can say I experience the peace, calm, and rest of Advent.
This is the story of why Advent is so important to me, where my reading plan and devotional came from, and why I think Advent should be important to you.
Ultimately, as Christians, we should be in awe that we have His saving rest.
I encourage you to spend a few minutes a day in God’s Word to experience the real reason for the Advent season.
If you’d like a guide with daily readings, download the FREE Advent Season Self-care Bible Reading Plan HERE.
Dear friend, I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
Advent Bible Reading Plan FAQs
Q1 What is Advent?
A1 Advent is when Christians spend time deeply reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas. There are different ways to prepare for Christmas Day.
- Some enjoy using an Advent calendar and daily Advent readings.
- Others read daily Scripture readings or say prayers while they light candles in an Advent wreath.
- And still, many others take the opportunity to reflect on Christ’s birth with an Advent reading plan.
Most believers find that a combination of the above activities provides the deeper meanings of rest and peace found in the true story of Christmas.
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Lisa Kimrey is a 30-year veteran registered nurse, speaker, and author of the Bible study, The Self-care Impact: Motivation and Inspiration for Wellness. At Mylifenurse, Lisa writes about simple ways to care for yourself to stay happy, healthy, and rejuvenated while you serve and care for others. Combining her years of nursing expertise with Scripture-based encouragement, Lisa shows readers easy ways to begin and maintain their self-care journey – without feeling guilty. Be sure to grab your FREE Self-care Starter Guide!