Advent comes from the Latin word: Adventus, meaning “the coming” or “the arrival”. It is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation, the nativity...Christmas.
By the 4th Century AD the Advent season was kept as a period of fasting. We often think of Lent as the season of fasting (before Easter) but the early church also kept an Advent fast just as diligently. Two forty day periods of fasting in a year... someone should start The Christian Calendar Diet. Might be on to something.
Ultimately, advent is about anticipation. It is the time when Christians look back at the first coming of Jesus and look forward to His second coming.
The four weeks leading up to Christmas are a focused and swelling anticipation of Jesus’ first arrival from enthroned member of the Trinity in the heights of heaven to a dirty barn in a stone feeding trough. And in turn it should also be a season that fuels our longing and expectancy for His second arrival.
So the Advent season is marked by hopeful anticipation. Culturally, and perhaps in the church as well, Advent is merely a countdown to Christmas (or is skipped entirely).
Christmas is a season of triumph and joy, Emmanuel, God with us (Matt 1:23) when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Christmas decorating isn’t so much about beginning a season of Advent, it's a long drawn out celebration of Christmas.
Advent is the experience of waiting for the Christ (and waiting together as believers for the second coming of Jesus). It's the fast that makes the feast taste even better.
The beauty of Advent, that I am discovering, is the waiting period—the longing—the recognition that things aren’t the way they are supposed to be here, that wrongs need to be righted, that things need to be made new.
"Advent renews in the people of God a longing for Christ’s return."
Advent is a helpful season of reminder that war, oppression, poverty and hunger are not permanent, things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be, and that they’re not God’s intention for the world. So we reflect at this time, at all of the injustice in the world and say, “Come Lord Jesus, come”.
And when Christmas arrives it is pure celebration of the fact that Christ has come and the knowledge that He is coming again. But our celebration will be far richer for walking through the season of Advent and acknowledging afresh that we desperately need Him to come.
Join us for our Advent Services (Nov 27-Dec18) and our '5 Women: The Genealogy of A Coming King' sermon series.
Join us for our Christmas Eve Services (3:30; 4:45; 6 PM - Chilliwack. 5 PM - Agassiz).
Make use of our Advent Guide individually and/or as a family.