What is Advent anyway?
And why do some Christians celebrate this season while others seem to gloss over it and head right into Christmas?
The first question is much easier to answer than the second one, that’s for sure.
Advent is the four week period leading up to our celebration of Christ’s birth. The word literally means “arrival” or “coming” and the season has been celebrated for centuries as a time to reflect on Christ’s birth and all that it means to us as individuals and to the world!
But it's also a time for us to consider the second coming of Christ and the new heaven and new earth. It's a time for us to enter into the reality of our waiting and of our living in a time when we should be looking forward to His return as much as we look forward to celebrating His first coming on that Christmas Day.
Why don’t all Christians celebrate Advent?
It appears that more liturgical churches see Advent as an important part of the Christmas season and of the church calendar. More non-traditional churches aren’t quite sure what to do with it!
I’m not sure why this is, exactly. Perhaps it's the somewhat simple and methodical traditions of Advent.
Lighting a candle each Sunday and reading a passage of scripture can sometime seem like an “add on” to whatever is planned for the day. But this I know for sure - if ever we needed to focus on the coming of Jesus, it is now.
Our world continues to be filled with chaos, division, discouragement and, dare I say, hate. The traditional “themes” of Advent — peace, unity, hope, love, joy — are good medicine we need for our sick world. As believers, we, too, need to refocus our attention on the truth of Jesus. Advent pushes against the world and anchors us in the “things above”. (Colossians 3:2)
About This Devotional
Over the next few weeks, beginning December 1st, I'll be posting a daily Advent devotional. Sign up to receive emails and you'll get a new post sent to your inbox every day through Christmas Day.
The majority of these readings are excerpts taken from an Advent devotional entitled “Watch for the Light” (click the title to buy it and support local bookshops). Others are excerpts from favorite authors of mine. All are from a variety of writers from different Christian traditions. Following each reading will be a personal comment or questions for you to reflect upon if you so desire (or use as a journal prompt). On a few days there may be a link to a video which will take you to a song or part of a song for worship.
My prayer is that this devotional journey will encourage you as you prepare your heart for the celebration of His first coming while you live in anticipation for His second coming!
“Come, Lord Jesus. Come.”