Advent begins on Sunday.
I know. That feels fast. We haven’t even popped the turkey in the oven (and okay, some of us may still be at the grocery store), but I’m sliding into your inbox today, breaking my own once-a-month-ish newsletter rule, because if you’re feeling at all anxious about the holiday season (or, for that matter, if you’re stressed about anything), I’ve got good news—plus a printable (and pretty) resource designed just for you.
Adoration is the anxiety antidote.
Now, I’m not making light of the worries, even panic attacks, that can color our days. These joy-stealers are real. (Ask me how I know.)
But what’s also real—what is scientifically proven—is that when we praise God, our brains release dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel good.
Worship can change. your. brain.
It’s true. And just a few minutes of worship—making an intentional choice to praise God every day—can change your brain. If you’ve got time between peeling potatoes and prepping the stuffing (and you don’t mind reading words like “cingulate cortex”), you can click here for the research download. But if you want my quick take on the topic, it’s simply this:
Worship, in a nutshell, means giving honor and glory to God. And when we look at our lives through the lens of God’s character, everything shifts. Problems that once loomed impossibly scary or large start to shrink. Everything finds its place in light of God’s splendor. His holiness reveals our flaws; his mercy allows us to confess them; his faithfulness emboldens us to come before him with our every need.
As Ann Voskamp puts it in The Greatest Gift (a book that happens to be my FAVORITE Advent devotional), “When the King rules your world, you cease to rule or worry. All worry dethrones God.”
All worry dethrones God.
I agree—and I desperately want God to be on his throne in my life. But sometimes (especially in the middle of the night when “darkness seems to hide his face“), I can feel my chest start to tighten. Maybe it’s the crush-rush of the Christmas to-do list. Maybe it’s the “what-if’s” as I try to trust God with my children. Or maybe it’s just COVID again. I feel like they haven’t given us an expiration date on the symptoms; could the creak in my knees be a long-haul side effect?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that there is a very real thief whose mission is to steal and kill and destroy—and worship is the way we counter his attacks.
A plan to praise
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Now, when I wake up at night and my trust starts to falter, I have a plan. Instead of counting sheep, I’m calling God’s name—alphabetically. “God,” I whisper, “you are Awesome. Beautiful. You are my Comforter. Deliverer. Everlasting Father…”
(I’ve got more letters lined up—Faithful, Good, Holy—but honestly? I rarely need them. The simple practice of adoration opens the door to peace and I drift off to sleep, secure in the fact that the One who watches over me is still awake. He will neither slumber nor sleep, the Bible says.)
If you’d like to join me in Advent Adoration this year, you don’t have to stay awake in order to do it. Instead, you can draw near to God—you can come into his presence with praise—with this DIY Advent calendar. We designed it last year exclusively for our email community, and it was so well-received that we’re bringing it back.
Just print, cut, and fold
The Advent printable includes 25 cards, each one highlighting a different one of God’s character traits. They’re super easy to access—just print, cut, and fold!
Display the cards with the numbers facing out as you welcome December, and then flip them over discover a new facet of God’s nature every day. You can hang the cards on a strand of twine, prop them on a mantle, or keep them in a bedside box as a reminder of God’s lavish love.
Again, this resource is a Christmas gift for our email friend group; you won’t find the cards available elsewhere. As a current subscriber, you don’t need any special code to access the Advent printable; simply click here and follow the prompts to download. (If you have friends who’d enjoy this printable or the monthly newsletter, please encourage them to visit jodieberndt.com to subscribe and join us—everyone’s welcome!)
And as you consider each card, talk about God’s character with your children. Ask questions, even if you don’t know all the answers. For instance…
- God is our COUNSELOR. Where do you need his wisdom or guidance today?
- God is SOVEREIGN. How does it make you feel to know that he is in control?
- God is IMMANUEL. What difference does it make to know that he is with us?
God is Immanuel…and so much more. Whatever your need, wherever you are, you can anchor your trust in God’s name. May you sense his nearness, his love, and his grace in increasing measure in the month ahead.
Now go get that turkey in the oven—and I’ll see you back here next month with a Christmas giveaway of my most-favorite resource!
P.S. Starting December 1st, I’ll be sharing these Advent attributes along with discussion prompts in my Instagram and Facebook stories. So even if you don’t want to download the calendar, you can follow along and use the daily prompts as an easy Advent devotional your whole family can enjoy!