The Meaning Of Advent

Advent - blue candle square

Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30th, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24th). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent – as it is this year – with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown. This year the season of Advent begins this Sunday, December 3rd.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.

In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing.

The liturgical color of the season is traditionally purple, but has been replaced by blue (to differentiate it from Lent) in many churches, such as here at Christ Church.

In the coming days, we will post the entire, detailed Advent and December / January holiday service schedule. Until then, join us for Advent I services this coming Sunday at 8:00 and 10:30am.