“Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown.
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.
In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. That acknowledgment provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live “between the times” and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people.”
~ The Voice
Clink on the link above for more information on the Advent colors, wreath, candles, spirit, celebration, reflective readings, etc.
Looking back ~ 1 Peter 1:10-11
Looking forward ~ 1 Peter 1:13-19
The following books are some of my personal favorites for preparing myself to celebrate the first coming of Christ even as I await his second coming:
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by various authors including C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Philip Yancey, Madeleine L’Engle, Henri Nouwen, Kathleen Norris, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Annie Dillard, Dorothy Day and many others
Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas by John Blase
Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton by The Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends
Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper
And for helping children prepare to celebrate Christ:
Last year part of our countdown with the children included opening a Christmas book each evening. But our family’s favorite Advent activity is The Jesse Tree. I plan to share details & resources next week for incorporating The Jesse Tree into your family’s celebration.
“May this time be a reflection of what our lives are – gratitude for the promises that were fulfilled when God gave us the gift of his Son and anticipation of and preparation for Christ’s coming again.”
~ Noel Piper
How does your family and/or church observe Advent?