Great Expectations: An Advent Devotional

Great Expectations is a day-by-day Advent devotional designed for individuals, families, and churches.mIt is available free of charge, for use and distribution as you see fit.
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Christmas is unlike any holiday. We don’t just celebrate Christmas. No, we plan for Christmas and decorate for Christmas. We shop and party and listen to special music in the run up to Christmas. Unlike any other holiday, we long for each year to be more meaningful than the last and for "this year" to the one we look back on with joy and talk about for Christmases to come.

We don’t just celebrate it. We expect great things from it.

For Christians, the hope and expectation of the holiday centers less around the parties and the memories and more on the person and the work of Jesus Christ. For us Christmas commemorates the high point of God’s grand [and true] story of redemption; the moment where our long-awaited rescuer makes his celebrated and surprising appearance. He arrives not as a warrior in arms or a prince in robes but a baby in a manger, with the weight of salvation sitting on his tiny, and capable shoulders. And it’s for this baby that we save our greatest expectations.

Advent is a chance for us to remind ourself of all that we expect from our Savior. The word itself is Latin in origin and means “to appear.” Over the next month you will join with billions of believers around the world—and countless more throughout time and eternity—in preparing your heart to appreciate the anniversary of Jesus’ appearing and in eagerly expecting what this Jesus will do when he arrives again in power, in the future, to fully establish his Kingdom.

This devotional is intended to help you in the Advent journey. 4 long-form devotions (20-30 mins) are provided for each Sunday in Advent, with a scripture reading and reflection questions (5 mins) provided for use throughout the week.

We suggest using mealtime on Sunday as the setting for the longer devotional and the moments just before heading off to work or school in the morning or just before bed in the evenings to read and work through the daily scripture reading and reflection questions.

Many Christians will also make use of an advent wreath, which consists of 4 candles, one for each Sunday in Advent. Each week, as family and friends gather to prepare for the “advent” of Jesus—and as you read this devotional—a new candle is lit until, on the last Sunday before Christmas, all 4 candles shine at the table, representing the truth that Jesus, the “Light of the World” is about to arrive.

This devotional has been prepared collaboratively, for you, by the people at OSNY. These are their words, their reflections, and their favorite truths from Scripture put together as a gift to you. May it increase the joy and expectancy you bring to the birth of Jesus, longing for the mercy, grace, justice and joy he brings to our world. 

Happy Advent.



[To follow along with the “Great Expectations” teaching series at OSNY worship with us LIVE online [HERE], listen to or download each week's message [HERE], or subscribe to our podcast [HERE.]