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Day 1 of 28: The Purpose

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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It happens the same way every year.

The store aisles fill up with garland and lights before Halloween even has a fair shot of arriving on the calendar. Glittering ornaments and tubes of wrapping paper take over the shelves. The artificial trees are hauled out from crawl spaces and storage closets earlier than the year before.

We begin this dizzying season, once again, where we vow to ourselves that this year (yes, THIS year), we will genuinely savor it. We will be present. We will be unhurried. We will be here– really here– for the Christmas season. 

And it seems that every year passes by with the same outcome: we hardly stop. We savor in small pockets. We grab at the season, but it passes too quickly.

December 26 arrives. We stack the trees by the roadside. We pull out our new planners and prepare for the next thing on the calendar. We tell ourselves, “Next year. Next year will be the year we get this season right.” Next year, we will try again.

This is why I wrote an Advent series– a 28-part journey through the story of Jesus’ birth. I was tired of walking out of the Christmas season emptier and more tired than how I walked into it. I wanted to stop making empty promises about how I would reclaim the wonder of the season.

So I set on a hunt for something more. I dedicated hours upon hours to researching the Christmas story. I dug my heels in deep, only to discover that everything I thought I knew about this story of a baby in a feeding trough was wrong. It’s not the same story I saw in church growing up. It’s so much better. 

There’s a story in Mark where Jesus goes back to his hometown to teach and perform miracles. At first, the people in the crowd are impressed with him. But in the next breath, they are cutting him down. They started saying things like, “Mary’s boy? We’ve known him since he was a kid. There’s no way there’s anything special about him. Nothing good ever comes out of Nazareth.”

The text says that Jesus couldn’t do much of anything there. Their lack of belief discounted any miracle in their midst.

As I wrote this series, God kept reminding me of this story. Of how dangerous it is to be in a space where we think we know everything there is to know about something or someone. We suck away the wonder– the chance for miracles to occur–with our stubborn mindsets.

I’ve prayed through every writing session that God would break this way of thinking for all of us, that he would give us new eyes to approach the story of Emmanuel touching down on earth with a baby’s breath.

I’ve prayed that God would restore our wonder. We would have profound moments of thinking, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before. That’s a miracle.”

More than anything, I want us to be amazed by this story I’m about to tell– not because I’m writing it, but because God wrote a deeply personal and wildly beautiful story by sending his son to earth for us. It’s more layered than you can even imagine. There is so much to unpack. There is so much to marvel at. Trust me; if you think you know what you’re getting yourself into, God has more in store for you than you can imagine.

Throughout the next 28 days, we will be trekking chronologically through the story of Jesus’ birth. Piece by piece. At times we will stop, pitch a metaphorical tent, and camp out in parts of the story to get the most profound understanding of the intricate details.

Each piece contains a section for Scripture to reference and another section called “Steal This Prayer.” I know praying can be hard sometimes, and we get nervous about communicating with God, so I wrote a prayer for each day to help us navigate through this. It’s there for you to take and make your own. 

Without further talk, all that’s left to do is to propel ourselves straight into the heart of this story. I cannot wait to be your guide through this season.

Happy Advent, friend. Grab a cup of coffee and your Bible. It’s time to dig.

Reading

Mark 6:1-6, John 1:46

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, would you open my eyes and give me a new way of seeing this story I’ve heard hundreds of times? Clear out any roadblocks that might stop me from seeing the miracles in front of me. Restore my wonder and help me to savor this season before it’s too late. I’m ready to make room for my King.



I Love Hearing from You!

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.

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  1. Tracy Erler says:

    Joining a few days late because I sprinted to the end of NaNoWriMo last month. But I’m here. I didn’t grow up with the advent being an every day term in my childhood or young adulthood, but I’m here because by the end of the year, I’m tired and ready to slow down and take in the prettiness and warmth that is Christmas–and because I miss reading my Bible. So, here I am. Thank you, as always Hannah, for your words and guidance.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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