What is Advent?


Advent Wreath Have you ever waited for something with great anticipation?  When I gave Jessica her anniversary present, I was counting down the days before I could reveal her gift.  I can think back to the evenings before the next iPhone releases that I could hardly sleep because I was anticipating the new iPhone.  As I kid, I can remember the anticipation that would come the night before Christmas.  Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation.  For many years churches throughout the world have created certain rhythms each year that bring us back and re-focus us on the importance of the current season.

Waiting for the King

The season of Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation.  Advent begins several weeks before Christmas with the intention that as we begin moving closer and closer to Christmas we will anticipate the celebration of his birth, much like people anticipated the day when the prophesies would be fulfilled.  And we also anticipate not only the birth of a king, but that one day Christ will return as king.

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness." - Jeremiah 33:14-16

Imagine the anticipation that comes from hearing a prophesy like that of Jeremiah.  "He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land."  And then the people wait.  They waited for the promised Messiah for hundreds of years.  Do we anticipate his coming the same way we anticipate opening presents on Christmas morning?  Or do we anticipate it more?  Or less?

Re-Focusing on the Savior

Long before we begin the Advent season, malls have already been decorated and radio stations have already begun playing Christmas music.  While culture prepares us for Christmas by telling us we need to get our shopping done and make our Christmas lists, the Church prepares us for Christmas by reminding us that the anticipation of those things ultimately leave us empty.  Gifts, decorations, shopping, and Satna Claus are fun ways to celebrate the season, but at the end of the day are we anticipating the opening of presents or the celebration of the new-born King?  The Advent season is a wonderful reminder that during the Christmas season we wait for Christ.

Photo Credit: Starfish235

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