What Is Advent and Why Is It Important?
Article By Beth Hanson // EEW Magazine contributor
As we gear up for Christmas, Advent reminds us to wait and pray for our Savior Jesus Christ to come again.
If you’re totally confused about what Advent is, don’t feel bad. Lots of Christians don’t know.
Advent is basically a time when we anticipate and prepare for the second coming of Christ.
The season of Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve, comes from a Latin word, adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.”
It officially marks the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. Liturgical is from the word liturgy, which denotes all forms and functions of public worship.
During Advent season, believers recall the longing the Jews had for the return of the Messiah, as well as our own yearning for His return.
We are reminded that we are waiting for the ultimate promise that Jesus will return and make all things right. It’s a beautiful reminder that our Savior is coming back!
While we celebrate the first coming of Jesus on Christmas, during Advent, we look forward to the second coming of our Lord.
A great scriptural reminder is in Philippians 3:20, that says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
HOW MOST CELEBRATE
Most churches who observe this special time do so with a circular Advent wreath. It’s basically a wreath of evergreen with four candles on it. The perfect circle shape is symbolic of the eternity of God. Some churches use purple candles (one for each week in Advent), with one larger white candle in the middle as the “Christ” candle. Other churches may use three purple or blue candles and one rose or pink colored candle to represent joy.
While it varies from congregation to congregation, on each Sunday of Advent season, believers zone in on the four virtues Jesus brings: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
Lighting the first candle, for some, symbolizes expectation; the second, hope; the third, joy; the fourth, purity.
The big Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to remind Christ’s followers that Jesus is the light of the world.
WHY IS THE MESSAGE OF WAITING IMPORTANT?
It is easy to become disheartened over the condition of a cruel and wicked world where evil, selfishness and corruption reigns. As not to grow weary, believers must remind ourselves that this is not our home. Earth is not the final destination. Christ will have the last say.
Do you celebrate Advent?