I’m an Advent Failure!

Every year I have grandiose plans for Advent. Books to read, activities to complete, prayers to write. And every year one of two things happen:

I don’t get started until December 10th  . . . OR  . . .  by December 10th I’ve missed so many days I am ready to give up.

For the past few years I’ve owned my Advent failures and determined not to attempt so much and instead slow and be still more. Instead of adding to my December calendar, I subtract. I write less and expect less—of myself and of others.

I'm an Advent failure www.terilynneunderwood.com

This marks my third year of the same Advent readings, the Gospel of Luke. Each morning I read one of the twenty-four chapters. There’s something beautiful about starting December with Mary’s Magnificat and beginning Christmas Eve by reading of the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. The days in between are marked with familiar stories of miracles and raging seas, promises fulfilled and challenges offered.

Reading the whole of Christ’s “Word-Made-Flesh” story during a month where we typically start with big plans and end with exhaustion, barely remembering to focus on the manger scene we set out to remind us, has changed me. It’s changed my heart and my Christmas experience. In some ways, these readings have made my focus smaller, learning to see the day-to-day wonder in this month of bigger and brighter. In other ways, my Advent has gotten much bigger. I’ve begun to see the whole story. Not just a manger that led to a cross but the even bigger story . . . the wonderful redemption story of God with us, Emmanuel.

I’m wrapping myself up in the beauty of when God draws near. Just as I carefully choose the papers to adorn my gifts, I’m carefully choosing to offer my life as gift to Him. Like the ribbons that decorate the packages under my tree, I’m tying myself up in the redemption I have through Christ.

Maybe you’d like to join me?  I’ve gathered up 28 days of Scriptures, musings, and prayers … from Genesis to Revelation, the story of redemption, the sweet peace when God draws near.  

When God Draws Near: the story of redemption www.terilynneunderwood.com

When God Draws Near: the story of redemption are devotions are meant for people like me … advent failures, who never start on time and wonder how the days got away from them. Twenty-eight days of readings. If you start today, you’ll finish on January 6th, the Epiphany. If you don’t start today or if you miss a few days, or more than a few, it won’t matter. I promise.

Because this isn’t simply the Christmas story, it’s more. It’s a journey to grasp the wonder when God draws near, to know the fullness of the story of redemption. This story didn’t begin on Christmas Eve in a manger in Bethlehem and didn’t end with the Magi’s visit. So, join me, from the beginning of the story in Eden to the end of this story . . . eternity with Christ.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14 MSG

Are you an “advent failure” too?  How do you spend this season of anticipation looking forward to Christ’s birth?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Terri, I too am reading the book of Luke starting Dec. 1-24. I actually thought of the idea a month ago and then asked my 15 year old son and 11 year old daughter to join me. Thank you for the free devotional. I look forward to reading through it this month to keep my mind and heart focused on Christ this Christmas. Blessings!

    • That’s great, Kelly! My husband suggested the idea to me three years ago and we have been doing it ever since. This year our daughter is joining us and it’s such a great way for all of us stay connected and focused.

  2. I am current reading John Piper’s “Good News of Great Joy” readings for Advent. But I have fallen behind, so yes, a failure in the doing, but a success in the being, as I purpose to quite my heart and my mind to lean in close and reflect on Jesus — who He is, what He did, what He is doing.

  3. Thank you, Terilynne. And just join the club. I guess none of us are perfect yet. I think I will put it on my kindle. Merry Christmas.

    Love from one of your sisters in Christ,


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