What is Advent? Is it something we just celebrate at church, or can we use it to create expectation and worship at home too? (See Download link below)
The word advent comes from a Latin word which means “coming” or “arrival.” Celebrated on the four Sundays prior to Christmas1, Advent is practiced by various Christian denominations as a way of looking back on Christ’s first advent (his birth) and looking forward to his second advent (his second coming). Originally it was a time associated with fasting and penitence, but Advent’s celebration eventually became a time of great expectation. It helps us to prepare for the Christmas time celebration of Christ’s birth. This practice is great for congregations, but can also be done at home, teaching the children and reminding the adults that Christmas is about celebrating God having come to dwell among his people. But the Christ child did not remain as a baby; he grew up, and began a three-year ministry that changed the world forever, reconciling sinful man with Holy God.
The Advent tradition is celebrated in various ways by the different denominations that practice it, but the common elements include: Lighting of candles, prayer, and scripture reading. At the Gilbert household, we make an advent wreath, complete with evergreen branches, holly berries, and five candles. This is a yearly tradition at our home because we want to create anticipation for the celebration of the incarnation, and help all of us to remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.