What Is Advent
Advent is a time before Christmas to pull away from all the Holiday noise and focus the on real reason to Celebrate Christmas. Let's look at the meaning of Advent and traditions related to the birth and 2nd coming of Jesus.
Today is the first day of Advent. Many Christians celebrate Advent, the time before Christmas. But what is it? How did it start? What does it symbolize and what does Advent mean for us today? Let’s look at this four-week period before Christmas and learn the true meaning of Advent.
The word ADVENT comes from the Latin word ADVENTUS meaning “the coming”.
Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30th, the feast day of St Andrew the Apostle. Advent continues for four consecutive Sundays before Christmas. The starting and ending date of advent changes from year to year.
Advent was probably started in the fourth century and was a time when Christians readied themselves for baptism. In the Middle Ages, Advent began on November 11, the feast day of Saint Martin, and would continue till Christmas Day. It was a time of fasting and prayer with a concentration on the second coming of our Lord, Jesus.
In the last fifty years, the emphasis has been on the Nativity of Jesus. It is a time of anticipation and spiritual readiness for Christmas day!
The primary symbol of Advent is the Advent wreath. Ancient northern Europeans would light candles on a circle of greens in the dead of dark winter to symbolize ongoing life. The lit candles were a reminder of spring and the coming of lighter days ahead.
By the 16th century, Christians had adopted this wreath and used it as a symbol much as we do today. There are four candles on the advent wreath, three purple, and one pink. The purple candles, that are lit on weeks one, two, and four, symbolize hope, peace, and love. The pink candle, lit on week three, symbolizes joy. Each week as Christians prepare for the coming of Christmas they ponder on and pray for hope, peace, joy, and love!
There are many modern adaptations of the Advent wreath, but they primarily symbolize the same thing. Our family uses white candles in our Advent wreath.
Sometimes a large candle is lit in the center of the wreath to symbolize the birth of Christ, the Light of the world!
At our home, we practice lighting the Advent wreath and use it as a symbol of the true meaning of Christmas.
But what does Advent mean to us today and how does it help us draw closer to God and give him glory?
Advent itself is a time of “readiness”. It’s a time to reflect and prepare our hearts for Christmas Day. The day we celebrate the fulfillment of many prophesies about how Christ.
FOR A CHILD WILL BE BORN TO US, A SON GIVEN TO US, AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL REST UPON HIS SHOULDERS. AND HIS NAME WILL BE CALLED WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, ETERNAL FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE. Isaiah 9:6
AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US AND WE SAW HIS GLORY, THE GLORY OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH. John 1:14
THEREFORE, THE LORD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN; BEHOLD A VIRGIN WILL BE WITH CHILD AND BEAR A SON AND HE WILL BE CALLED IMMANUEL (WHICH MEANS “GOD WITH US”). Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1 22-23.
There are many more fulfilled prophesies about the birth of Jesus, these are just a few.
But as we reflect and prepare for celebrating the first coming of Jesus, Advent is also a time to also prepare for Jesus’ second and imminent coming!
“MEN OF GALILEE,” THEY SAID. “WHY DO YOU STAND THERE LOOKING INTO THE SKY? THIS SAME JESUS WHO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL COME BACK IN THE SAME WAY YOU HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.” Acts 1:11
MAY GOD HIMSELF, THE GOD OF PEACE, SANCTIFY YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH. MAY YOUR WHOLE SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY BE KEPT BLAMELESS AT THE COMING OF OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
And Jesus said…
BEHOLD, I AM COMING SOON. MY REWARD IS WITH ME AND I GIVE TO EVERYONE ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END. Revelation 22:12-13
The Bible is full of prophecies of Jesus’ second “advent” or coming to planet earth!
Jesus’ purpose for the first coming, what we celebrate at Christmas, was to save the lost.
Jesus said THE SON OF MAN CAME TO SEEK AND SAVE THE LOST. Luke 19:10
Jesus came to save you and to save me because we were lost in our sins and therefore, dead to a relationship with God.
Jesus’ second coming will be to judge the whole world and rule it forever! We, who are saved by Jesus’ first coming, will be safe from His judgment.
During the Christmas season, the true meaning of Christmas and Advent can get buried in all our preparations of our homes and gifts and food and gatherings. Let’s not forget the most important preparation of our hearts!
Let’s use this Advent to reflect and remember Jesus’ first coming as we celebrate Christmas and prepare ourselves for Jesus’ second coming as King Of Kings!
You can go online to find great Advent devotionals to help you prepare your heart during this holy time of the year!
Thankyou for this wonderful post, it gave me a ‘nudge’ for sure…x
In the Orthodox Christian Church, our Nativity Fast or Advent lasts 40 days, beginning on November 15. It similarly symbolizes the incarnation of the Word, the coming on earth of the greatest man that ever lived, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Let all our Advent preparations be to His Glory!
Thank you. Advent is not often publicly acknowledged. Let’s keep it in our hearts and mind.
Yvonne, It warms my heart to know that EVERY Sunday I can look forward to your message for the week. How fabulous for me that you also are a great cook, creative designer, gracious host, and a good writer! Happy Sunday to you!
Thank you. May the peace, love, joy and hope of this Blessed season be with you throughout the holidays and the year to come.
While the decorating and styling work you do in your home and share with us in wonderful…your best work is done with your Sunday message. Always heartfelt and easy to understand for anyone~whether they are a believer or not~so nice to wake up to this message before heading to church each Sunday. Happy Sunday to you and your family.
Thank you, none has ever explained that to me before, and I will prepare my heart for Christmas. Blessings to you and your family.
I was fortunate enough to see The Miracle of Christmas at the Sight and Sound theater this weekend. The show was amazing and so beautifully reminded me of what we really are celebrating. That coupled with your post is a wonderful way for me to begin the Christmas season. It really isn’t all about the hustle and bustle of shopping, but about love.
Great minds think alike Yvonne! I am talking about Advent today too. 🙂 Have a wonderful Advent season!
I want to thank you Yvonne for your stand for Jesus Christ! Thank you for sharing about Advent! I never really knew that. I love how you share Christ’s love for others! God bless you!
Love the season of Advent. Have my wreath and candles all ready to be lit. Thank you for the wonderful teaching.
Thank you for this post, Yvonne. Our pastor preached on this very subject of Advent last night. So often we go through rituals and never think about the deeper meaning. Advent is a time for this weary world to rejoice! God IS with us!
I love the lessons that you talk about each Sunday! I try to pass them on to family each week! We have a discussion about them at dinner on Sunday! This week will be so much more interesting for us. We usually go to Mass as 6:oo pm. but dinner is at 3:00! We are blessed and thank you! Have a meaningful Advent!
I am so delighted to read this post!! I didn’t grow up celebrating advent. When my girls became old enough to understand the concept I began looking for ideas. I ended up tweaking several ideas to fit our family. The idea of the wreath has always confused me some. I love how you explained it! I see more tweaking to our traditions during advent this year. I think as Christians we should all focus more on advent than we tend to do. Another tradition that I have also been confused about is the yule log or the buche de noel. Thank you for sharing the details about the meaning of Advent!
Thank you for this post, Yvonne. Our Advent wreath is ready to begin burning the first candle today. It makes my heart and soul happy.
I have never studied Advent, so this was very interesting. Thank you.
Yvonne, Blessed is how I feel each Sunday as I read your post. Blessed I am for finding Stonegable Blog, Blessed for you to give me such pleasure daily, yes I’m very Blessed. God Bless you and yours.
God bless you, Yvonne.
Great message! Thank you!
Thank you for your message this morning. It encouraged me to go to church which is always a good thing. Bless you this Advent season.
Your post about Advent was excellent. May I excerpt part and use it in our church newsletter? I would give you credit. Thanks.
My high school –well just a few of us–have finished an email study of Revelation and now are doing an advent short study for the week to help us prepare our hearts for Christ coming to be our Savior and for Him coming back to meet us in the sky when He comes for us. How wonderful to prepare and doing an advent devotional nightly brings the Lord into our home. Thank you for your post. You word everything so well. God bless you.
So brilliant, and such a timely reminder. Many thanks.
Loved this Advent post especially your centerpiece. Would love to see you start with ONE candle and add one each Sunday until you place the large one in the middle. The countdown…..
Thank you for continuing to talk about Jesus Christ. I love that you are bold for Him and that you share the most important info we can have in this world – how to be saved by the blood of Christ. It is a wonderful thing you do in sharing and taking the time out of your days to spread the word. Thank you! I would also love to see an Advent wreath I can make for my home to remember Advent in a meaningful way. Thanks in advance.
Greetings from an avid reader from Guatemala!
Advent is also observed by every Christian Catholic here in Guatemala. Did you know the Gospel that one reads on those four Sundays changes from year to year? This Christmas season it is the Gospel of Luke (cycle C). Then, the day before Christmas (December 24th), before 6 in the evening, one does the final reading and praying and light the last candle (usually white) that symbolized the coming of the Light into the World. I wish I had a blog to share the Advent Wreath at home… ☺ I’m so very glad that not only do you have a beautiful home, you do gorgeous decorating, but also keep at heart the true meaning of the season. Happy Holidays from Guatemala!
Thank you for your lovely and informative comment, Claudia!
I always look forward to your Sunday message. Our country certainly needs to hear the meaning of Advent and follow the four ideals- love, peace, hope, and joy. But to change a direction of a nation, it must begin with us. Thank you for nudging us.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14 Amen and amen!
Thank you dear Yvonne – I follow the Advent tradition of the first Sunday focuses on the mineral kingdom, the 2nd Sunday on the plant kingdom, the 3rd Sunday the animal kingdom and the 4th Sunday the human being. On each of these Sundays we bring something representing these elements to our Advent table (crystals, flowers, a birds feather etc), and of course on the last Sunday a picture card of Mary and Joseph. Blessings to all.
Oh, I’ve never heard of that kind of Advent.