We hear the word ‘advent’ quite a lot every December – usually attached to the word ‘calendar’ and with the promise of chocolate attached! But what does one have to do with the other?
Advent is the first season in the church year. It is the period of time immediately before Christmas when Christians get ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends with Christmas Day itself. The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’: it is a period to reflect on God’s coming to earth. During this time Christians remember when God came 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus, but also to look forward to the time when He will come again.
Over time, many traditions have sprung up around the advent season. Churches have always ‘dressed’ for advent, lighting candles each Sunday in preparation for the final candle representing Jesus, light of the world, which is lit on Christmas Day to celebrate his arrival. In the early 20th century, the first advent calendars were created as a way to look forward to the celebration of Christmas. And as each day unfolds in advent, Christians are challenged to reflect on God’s old promise to come and rescue His people, and think again about what Jesus Emmanuel, ‘God with us’, really means to them.
In this section, you can journey through the Christmas story a day at a time with our ‘Advent Adventures’ or learn more about how churches prepare for Christmas. Can you find out how many candles are on an advent wreath, and what they represent?Bookmark