Season of Advent
As we approach this Christmas season of Advent, let us set our hearts and minds on this special season.
Many Christians are unfamiliar with the liturgical calendar year, and what the emphasis should be on. Some people know that the Advent season focuses on the anticipation of Christ’s birth, in the season leading up to Christmas. This is part of the story, but there is more to it.
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word Parousia. Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and his first miracle at Cana.
Today, the Advent season lasts four Sundays leading up to Christmas. At that time, the new Christian year begins with the twelve-day celebration, which lasts from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. (Advent begins on a Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year.)
Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to make perfect and take us to his eternal kingdom. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s yearning in anticipation for the Advent season.
So, as we prepare, let us keep our hearts and our minds on Christ Jesus and for his return to take us to our eternal home.
God’s blessings to all of you this Christmas season,