In preparation for Christmas, many take the opportunity to celebrate advent. Advent simply is the season leading up to Christmas, namely, the four Sundays before December 25. As noted by many authors, sometimes, the last Sunday in November happens to be one of those Sundays before the advent season begins.
The word advent means coming. In fact, it is remembering the many years God’s people were anticipating the coming of God’s salvation, Jesus. Contemporarily, Christ-followers celebrate not only the historical aspect of Jesus’ birth but also His second coming. One author states, “In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people.” Churches worldwide take this opportunity to educate their parishioners about this special season. For example, some churches provide advent calendars that equip congregants with Scripture and devotionals that help them focus on Christ leading up to Christmas day. In that regard, author John Piper says, “Advent is for enjoying Jesus…This is the greatest of history’s many wonders, something too stupendous to celebrate just one day. Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas.”
With each passing year, Christ-followers have the opportunity to celebrate, worship, and educate the next generation about Christ’s birth, which brings hope to believers because without Jesus, there would be no reconciliation with God. Pastor David Mathis states, “The opportunity of Advent, to remember the real reason for Christmas, is perhaps all the more poignant in our increasingly secular society. With every passing year, we have to be more vigilant, even aggressive and relentless, to remind ourselves, and our children, and our churches, what really is the heart and inspiration of Christmas.”
Advent is a great time for families to focus on Jesus and enrich their seasonal celebrations.