There are some things everyone ought to know about Advent, but somehow I missed the memo. I’ve been in ministry for over 34 years and am finally beginning to realize that Christmas is actually a whole season called Advent.
The season is designed to be a spirit ritual for growing in the grace of God.
5 things to know about Advent.
1. The season of Advent is all about Jesus—the One who is God, but became human and chose to be like us in all ways except sin (Hebrews 4:15). It is about the One who humbled Himself “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
2. Christmas is not meant to be an isolated day, but a seasonal celebration that encompasses the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, the wonder of the incarnation (God becoming man) and the hope of His coming again. Advent is that seasonal celebration—giving us time to embrace the wonder and reality of God’s overwhelming love.
3. In the Western church, Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30th. It lasts for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent contains four Sundays and the first Sunday is also the first day of the new church year.
4. Many homes have an Advent wreath on which four candles are placed. One candle is lit each week during Advent. The first candle represents Hope and the second candle symbolizes Peace. The third candle signifies Joy, and the fourth candle stands for Love. An optional fifth candle signifies the birth of Christ and is lit on Christmas.
5. It is in Advent that we begin to prepare for Easter, because without Christmas there would be no death, burial, and resurrection of the One born in a manger.
I plan to explore more of Advent in the weeks ahead, but for now, what are you doing to encounter the Holy during this season of Advent?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
This Post Has 4 Comments
We went over this in church Sunday. I think advent has made me more aware that I need to become more like Jesus and improve myself spiritually everyday. In my work, in my car and with my relationships. Jesus is returning soon and we need to be prepared. A lot of people are talking about how there will be a horrible time “an end.” We are going through that right now. What I chose to dwell on is the fact that we are in the process of a Genesis, or rebirth. We are in the middle of labor pains, but what is next is more beauty than can be imagined. We are on the verge of a new awareness that will be the second coming, where we will actually be aware that heaven is all around us and will experience the beauty of God without the filters of this world.
I love what you said about Advent. We have been doing an Advent wreath most of out Christian life, but you put it so well and so simply. It is such a blessing to “prepare” for the celebration of the Lord’s birth. Following the Advent keeps our focus on why we are celebrating, especially when we get pulled into the rapids of the river of shopping, baking, gift giving, etc., etc. It is all fun and a celebration, but we constantly have to bring our focus back to our Lord Jesus.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nancy. I too look forward to Christ’s return. I plan to talk a little bit about that in my next post. These are exciting times we live in, aren’t they!
And Sandy, Advent wreaths are a new thing for me. I’m doing the Advent candles this year and looking forward to enjoying this season of Advent as a way to embrace all that Jesus has brought to us. I think Advent is a great way to incorporate the holy into our daily as it does focus the season, as you mentioned.
It’s the ‘looking forward to….’ that is SO exciting to me. Personally I can’t wait!!! The thought of Eternity under a righteous Judge in a peaceful Kingdom makes every day worth living because I’m one day closer !!!! THIS is what motivates me to keep looking UP…..