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. Following are five basic things we need 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