Christmas ideas from Glenn Packiam:
For the longest time, I thought “Advent” was just a fancy word for “the Christmas season,” a holier, maybe more spiritual-sounding word for an otherwise hectic and overly-commercialized holiday stretch between Thanksgiving and December 25. What I’ve discovered in the past few years of observing Advent is that it’s not just a different word; it’s an entirely different approach.
Let me explain. Advent as a season is meant to make the journey toward Christmas full of meaning; it’s meant to put us touch with our deepest longings and greatest hopes; it’s meant to teach us to bring all our desires together on one object: Christ. While “Christmas” as a season (properly) begins on December 25 and goes twelve days (yes, there’s a song about that!) until January 6th, Advent is all about the build-up to it. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and takes us right up to the glorious celebration of the incarnation.
When you journey through Advent to Christmas, you begin to see Jesus more fully. You recognize that His incarnation was the beginning of the redemption of the world and that His return is the completion of it. Advent pulls those two moments together. It overlays the joy of His arrival as a helpless babe with the hope of His appearing as conquering King. Both arrivals are anticipated in celebrating Advent.