What is Advent?
What is Advent?
The Christmas season evokes different emotions in different people. Some people are filled with a sense of joy, while others experience sadness. Most likely, you have a range of emotions. You may find Christmas to be a joyful reminder of Jesus’ birth, but in your gladness, you also feel the sorrow of missing a loved one or mourning a broken relationship. Sometimes “Merry Christmas” just doesn’t seem appropriate.
This year we developed an Advent Guide that we hope will aid in making your Christmas genuinely merry—a merriment that comes from our steadfast hope in Jesus’ return to renew all things. He will right the wrongs done by us and injustices done to us.
Let’s pray we can use this Advent season to make Christmas merry in the most real sense.
History of Advent
The term Advent means “coming.” It has Latin roots and is most often used to describe the incarnation of Christ and the second coming of Christ. As Christians, we celebrate the arrival of Jesus and look forward to His return. The forward-looking aspect is a comforting reminder to press on living for Jesus in this life. Christians of earlier generations would use the phrase “advent of our Lord” when referring to Jesus’ birth and “His second advent” when referring to Jesus’ return to judge the nations.
The liturgy of the traditional church calendar celebrates the season of Advent in the lead up to Christmas. In the western church, the four Sundays before Christmas constitute the season of Advent. The eastern church begins celebrating in mid-November. Many believe this unique celebration of the Advent season started as early as the fourth century.
As evangelicals, we see no mandate in Scripture to practice certain festivals. However, what we do see is God placing special events and seasons in the lives of His people to remember the blessings He has given His children and hope for the promises yet to come. This Advent season, our desire for Soteria is that we use this opportunity to celebrate the incarnation and rest in the assurance of Jesus’ return.
About this guide
This year we developed an Advent Guide to complement to our church family’s celebration of Advent for your family to follow. In the history of Christianity, the celebration includes both the first and second Advents of Christ—the incarnation and the second coming, respectively. This guide has opportunities to both reflect on past blessings and hope in the future.
Each week follows a similar layout: a scripture, a lesson, the lighting of the Advent wreath, a carol, a children’s activity, a question for reflection and prayer. We hope and pray the wonder of the Christ child and the return of King Jesus will be in your heart this season. We hope this guide can play a small role in your Advent celebration. While designed as a whole, feel free to use as much or as little of this booklet as you like.
If your family hasn’t picked up an Advent Guide yet, you are welcome to grab a free copy on your way into church this Sunday. You can also purchase them online or share the link with a friend.