Tomorrow starts the Christian season of Advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival”). I love Advent for being an invitation into a parallel but alternate reality to the usual December experience, which has morphed Christmas into something almost unrecognizable.
Advent is the four-week season of preparation for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Any good celebration requires proper preparation for us to fully enjoy it. During December, however, we mostly confuse Christmas readiness with the hustle of shopping, parties, and preparations. Advent feels out of sync with all this noise and busyness which is why we so badly need it.
More than just recalling Christ’s first arrival, Advent hopes for the coming of Jesus again. Advent is a season of expectant waiting, tapping into the sense we have that all is not well, the longing for the world to be made right again. It’s a time for restless hearts and people weary of a broken world who long to know there’s something more than this. Advent cultivates in us a discerning eye, helping us to spot the sin that clutters our lives and notice all the ways we need to be saved. By helping us to hope intensely for restoration, to feel our own need to be saved, Advent readies us for genuine Christmas joy and faith in the One who saves us from our sin, Jesus.
At the church I served, we’ve prepared for Christmas by entering into Advent with the help of the good folks at the Advent Conspiracy – check out their website here. Their aim is to restore Christmas by reclaiming the scandal and wonder of the story. It’s full of challenging ideas and good resources to help reorient Christmas preparations and reclaim the scandal of Christmas again.
And check out this video as a way to enter into some Advent hopes and desires