Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

Christmastime Is Here

Good Friday stands alone on the Christian calendar, marking the death of our Savior and the payment for the sins of the world. Easter is that holyday which represents His glorious victory over death by means of His Resurrection, an event we also celebrate every Sunday when we gather as the people of God. And Christmastime - what we Christians also call Advent - is the marker on our yearly timeline of the coming and Incarnation of Christ. I think that one of the great joys of being a disciple of Jesus is the month-long celebration of His first coming, which also fuels a longing for His coming again. I've assembled a few links below in the hopes that it will provide you with some ideas to make the most of Advent.

Merry Christmas!

The Essence of Advent. Pastor Justin Holcomb provides some background on Advent, and its significance for today.

Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. The word “Advent” comes the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” In the early church, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation, his coming in the flesh. During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration.

By the sixth century, Roman Christians were celebrating the coming of Christ at Advent. But the coming they had in mind was not primarily Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world.   Read More >>

Advent Is Slow - On Purpose. Tony Reinke of Desiring God encourages us to slow down and take the time to celebrate Advent. Actually, that is part of the point. And, he introduces a free eBook of Advent readings from the ministry of John Piper.

Who has time to celebrate Advent? That’s my initial thought each year.

But that’s the point. Advent takes time. It cannot be microwaved, it cannot be compressed into 24 hours, and it cannot be sped up to the bustling speed of our daily lives. Advent is slow on purpose, because the slowness of the celebration mirrors the slowly unfolding drama of the Advent of the Savior himself in history.   Read More >>

God With Us. An excellent song for your Advent worship.

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God Rest Ye Merry. He is not everybody's cup of tea, but I really enjoy the unique and punchy writing of Douglas Wilson. I'm about halfway through this delightful new Advent offering, which also includes a section at the back with daily Advent readings and prayers (which we are using in family worship. I commend it to you, even this far into the season. Check out a summary at Canon Press, where you can also place an order.

The Innkeeper. John Piper reads his classic poem, The Innkeeper, below. Here is a 50% off sale (hardcover with Glenn Harrington’s beautiful paintings), so for a limited time it is $10 instead of $20. This is one of my favorite Advent books - we read it every year as a family.(HT: JT)

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Jesus Is Coming

Seek and Save the Lost

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