A word meaning “coming.” Biblically we speak of the advent of Christ, or his coming through the birth of Jesus. We also may hear someone refer to the second coming of Jesus as the second advent of Christ. Advent also designates a season in the church calendar before Christmas. During this season the church prepares for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
History of Advent
This practice of the church began in the late fourth century and was started as a time of fasting. The sermons around that same time were focused on the incarnation as a way to prepare for the celebrating of the day when God broke into human history in the person of Jesus. Throughout the ages this celebration developed into the four Sundays before Christmas to emphasize who the Messiah is and what the Messiah was arriving to bring to the world.
Our Focus During Advent
This year as we look forward to preparing ourselves for the advent or coming of Jesus we will be focusing on four specific groups of people in the story of Jesus birth. During the first Sunday of Advent we will spend time considering what the prophets spoke to bring hope to the people of God in the Old Testament concerning the promised Messiah. The second Sunday of Advent we will examine the Angels and what they told Mary and Joseph and what they Sang to the Shepherds. For the third Sunday we will worship with the Shepherds as they hear the good news of the Messiah and rush to worship Him. On the fourth Sunday of Advent the Magi will take center stage as we see how costly and worth while the pursuit of Jesus is. And the final Sunday before Christmas we will focus on the Christ Child.
As we prepare for this season of Advent I want to encourage you to spend some time and plan how you will prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus. Perhaps your family would benefit from an advent devotional, or advent calendar. It may be as simple as committing to reading scripture and praying daily during this season. Whatever you choose to do in preparation to celebrate Christmas please choose to do something. Don’t let this season pass you by.