Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What is Advent?

Many Christian churches follow a church calendar.  Many do not.  Those who follow a church calendar have a season in the life of the church called Advent.  The word advent means arrival, or coming.  So during Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, the church will focus on Christ's first arrival through the incarnation* of Jesus Christ.  Looking back to the first coming of Christ, and how the manger leads us to the cross and resurrection, we then look forward to his promised second coming! 

The following website has daily Advent devotions that will help prepare you for the Christmas celebration and to spur you on to look eagerly towards Christ's second coming:

This site is sponsored by the Lutheran Hour Ministries, and the following is their explanation of Advent:

The Church divides the year into different seasons that emphasize the life of Christ and the life of the Church. Beginning on Sunday, November 28, we will enter the season of the Church year called Advent. Advent is a four-week season of preparation and anticipation leading up to Christmas, on December 25and continuing to Epiphany January 6th 2011.

The focus of Advent is two-fold. On the one hand, we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world as both God and man so that our sins might be forgiven. On the other hand, we anticipate the day when Jesus will return to Earth and bring an end to this world. Those will be scary days, but we can look forward to the end of the world with hope because through faith in Jesus, the end of this world will mean the beginning of a new life with Christ for eternity.

Advent, then, is a time for us to repent and believe. Knowing that Jesus was born to forgive our sins, we repent (admit our failures to God) and believe that we are forgiven because of the death and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf. Also, knowing that Jesus is coming back, we repent and believe that when He returns, He will give us eternal life.

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