Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Discovering Advent

Advent is actually a new concept for me. I did not grow up celebrating Advent or even knowing what it was. We did have those cardboard Advent calendars where you open a window for each day leading up to Christmas. I really had no knowledge of its true meaning until this year. As I was reading blogs I saw moms (mostly catholic/homeschooling) doing Advent activities with their kids and it looked like lots of fun. I started doing some research online to see if Advent was something Christians celebrated. Here is what I found:

What does "Advent" mean?
"Advent" comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "visit" or "coming" or "arrival." The season of Advent is a time to get ready for the two "visits" of Christ: His first coming through the Incarnation, and His second coming as the reigning Lord.
What is Advent?
Advent is a season of the Christian year when we focus on the coming of Christ. It's a time of waiting, hoping, and getting in touch with our need for a Savior. It's a season of preparation for Christmas, much as Lent is a season of preparation for Easter. Yet Advent is also a time to look forward to the second coming of Christ.Though defeating sin and death through His cross and resurrection, Christ hasn't yet finished His work of renewing creation and restoring the kingdom of God. Thus we continue to experience the brokenness of this world, in violence, disease, natural disasters, and other forms of human suffering. In Advent we yearn for God's completion of the salvation begun in Christ.
When is Advent?
All Christians who keep Advent do so immediately prior to Christmas. Western Christians (Catholics, Protestants) begin Advent four Sundays before Christmas. Because Christmas falls on various days of the week, Advent ranges from 22 to 28 days (including Christmas Eve).
What are the Advent colors and what do they mean?
The primary Advent color is purple (or dark blue). It signifies royalty (the coming birth of the King) and seriousness or penitence. Pink is a secondary Advent color, representing the joy of the season. The green of the Advent wreath signifies life, and especially new life that comes through the Savior.
The information and Picture above were found at http://www.markdroberts.com/. You can find tons of additional information about Advent at his site.

So really, Advent is not about fun activities leading up to Christmas or cardboard calendars. It is a season of waiting and expecting. Spending time with the Father leading up to the day when he sent His Son to save us all. And an expectancy for the second coming of Christ when we finally go home to be with Him. I am still learning and am not following Advent strictly. Following the "law" without meaning has no life. Although we are doing fun baking and craft projects all month in celebration of Advent, my focus is on Christ this season. Pointing my children to Him during these weeks leading up to "the big day" is very important to me. At this young age, learning through stories, songs, and discussing is the best way to do that. I look forward to many years of celebrating Advent and incorporating some of the more traditional elements if they bring us closer to our purpose.
...we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior,
Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13

1 comment:

  1. That's wonderful. Like you, I just did the calendar thing growing up, not really understanding the deeper significance. I love it.