Advent? What Is It?

If you asked a group of Christians, all from different denominational backgrounds, about advent, I think you would get lots of different responses.  Some would consider it a Roman Catholic thing.  Others might never have heard of it.  My guess is that most would remember celebrating it somewhere, but wouldn’t know exactly why.  So, Wednesday night we will look at Advent—the reasons behind it and its history.

Advent, as a word, means coming.  We might say, “Travel took off with the advent of the motor car.”  In Christianity, the word refers to the coming of Christ; it can be used to refer to his first or second coming.  The Seventh Day Adventists, for example, take their name from two important doctrines in their end times teaching—The Sabbath and Christ’s second coming.

 Today Advent as a church season is celebrated by Protestants, Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, although differently be all three.  For Protestants, it is a time to look forward to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the Savior.  A looking forward to the second coming is also included.  It is celebrated for four weeks before Christmas, and rehearses the doctrines of Christ coming as the long expected Messiah.  That is what we will do this year at Connections Church.

 Advent is an “old” celebration in the church, almost as old as the celebration of Christmas.  Over the years it has been celebrated for different lengths of time, and with different emphases.  We will talk about some of them tomorrow night.  (We will also discuss the Advent Wreath—where it came from, what it symbolizes and why we incorporate it into our celebration.)

 So, whether you love the idea of Advent, or already hate it as some satanic ritual, come tomorrow night and let’s discuss it.

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One Comment on “Advent? What Is It?”

  1. Cindy Says:

    Today was the first day that I’ve ever seen the lighting of an Advent wreath. My church background doesn’t include much emphasis on symbolism. Come to think of it, one church I attended didn’t even sing Christmas hymns though there was usually a play or concert. Recent church teachings and sermons here have been helpful, particularly discussions on going beyond (but not forsaking) the Bethlehem nativity, and thinking about the Second Coming. It was suggested that the Second Coming should be every bit as exciting as the first (Simeon) and fill the believer with the same level of expectation and hope. (If I understood correctly, this next “coming” could occur at any time, these being the last days.)

    No wonder holiday depression is rampant. I really enjoy the holidays, and I am more sentimental at this time than at any other, but year after year all the focus on Santa and commnerce make anything beyond the most transitory joy hard to maintain. There is a kind of hovering sadness with many people who feel that something is wrong with them because they just don’t feel the merriment others seem to feel. (The Charlie Brown syndrome.) Surely doing Christmas the right way, in truth and with a realistic hope for the future would make all the difference. And this hope won’t end with the holidays, when the tree is on the side of the road and the kids go back to school.


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