Advent: What Is It?

The word “Advent” wasn’t common vocabulary for many growing up. Even after following Jesus, it seemed a secret code word for those “in the know.” Many Christians skip it, kicking straight into Christmas mode after Thanksgiving, riding the wave through New Year’s. Those who do speak of Advent often assume others know what it means.

What is Advent? The word means “arrival of a notable person or event.” But the church’s Advent emphasizes waiting for that arrival. It’s an extended Christmas Eve, inviting people to entertain the “not yet” of God’s Kingdom. It’s admitting life isn’t perfect, actually quite broken, and waiting expectantly for God to step in and do His work.

Who is Advent for? If you tire of Christmas hyper-materialism and cheeriness disconnected from Jesus’ birth, Advent is for you. If you’ve experienced significant loss and don’t relate to the season, celebrating Advent could refresh you. It’s recognizing the broken places and entrusting them to God, as He did at Jesus’ birth.

The key ideas are that Advent means waiting expectantly amid brokenness for God to act, and intentionally celebrating this season can refresh our faith.


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