Saturday, November 25, 2023

Advent Words Challenge 2023


The beginning of the Advent season is just a week away. In some respects, this year has flown by; in other ways, it has dragged on. I was disappointed to open my blog and see that I have only made one post this year. But it has been a stressful year, and I have gotten away from my habit of writing. I've missed it. Yet, as I think about Advent, its familiar rhythm stirs up a desire within me to get back to that habit.

2023 brings us to our seventh Advent Words Challenge! I recently read an article about Advent on Christianity Today's website, and a quote stood out.

“Advent reminds us that Chistian hope is shaped by the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” of the reign of God.”   ~Lisa Fullam, CT

The "already/not yet" aspect of the kingdom of God is a theme that has continually popped up in my reading and study over the past few years. "Already/not yet" is a kingdom theme that points to the reality that as Christ followers we live between two kingdoms. Generally when this theme comes up in Scripture, it is used to remind us that how we live in this present age matters. We explored this as we used Titus 2:11-14 as our guide through Advent in 2021. That passage still draws me back to it over and over, whether it’s the Advent season or not. And we will revisit it again a few times this year on our Advent journey. (Who knows, there may be a Titus Words Challenge in the future!)

The other thing that stood out in that quote above is "hope." While hope is one of the traditional weekly themes of the Advent season, I thought it would be good this year to have hope run like a thread throughout our whole journey. It feels like hope is a much-needed commodity in our world right now as we face wars, political divisions laced with hatred, and social unrest over everything from inflation to social injustice to environmental issues. And with it all comes anxiety, worry, and fear. In the midst of all of this, we come to Advent.

Advent is a season of waiting, longing, reflecting, and preparing, all based on the hope we have in Christ. It is a familiar rhythm that invites us to slow down and focus on Christ. And when we do, we come face-to-face again with hope. Another quote from that article I read:

“Hope is a resolute, unwavering hold on something that has happened and will happen.” Jay Kim/CT

This is Advent. Will you join me?

I'm keeping my pages simple this year, with the word on one page and Scripture and some quotes on the other. I am also keeping my Advent pages in the one journal I have used all year.

The every-other-day format we used last year was popular as it helped us slow down with a day in-between to study and make art. So, we will use that format once again.

Here is how the Words Challenge works:

  • I will post Bible study devotions, along with how I responded creatively, on this blog every other day, beginning on December 3rd and running through December 25. You can follow this blog by email, or there will be daily links to the posts in the Words Challenge Facebook group. A calendar of the words and the main Bible passage is below, so you can print it out.
  • Respond with whatever creative practice you choose: art journaling, mixed media art, scrapbooking, photography, digital art, poetry, creative writing, calligraphy—whatever you choose! As you take the Scripture and devotions into your heart and mind, let them sink even deeper as you practice creatively with your hands.
  • Join the Words Challenge Facebook group, where you can share your art and ideas and join the conversation through the Advent season and beyond. I host a number of Words Challenges throughout the year.
  • Share on Instagram and other social media with the hashtag #adventwords2023.
Click on the photo for a printable PDF


  1. I am SO happy to get this email. I've missed your writing but I do understand how stress can turn everything upside down. I look forward to the coming weeks receiving your informative & creative faith-based writing. Many blessings...Teri

    1. Thank you, Teri! I'm so glad you continue to follow!

  2. Lovely to have you back online. I was wondering the other day whether you would be doing an Advent study.

  3. I was so happy to receive this email. I would love to do this for Advent. Thanks.

  4. Hi. I just happened to stumble on this website and I love all I’ve been seeing and reading it’s like I found what I have been looking out for. Please how can I follow up on email?

    1. Welcome! If you look at the right hand column, at the bottom is a form to subscribe.