For Christians, Advent is a time spent preparing for Christmas. For many of us, this can include decorating our homes, putting up a Christmas tree, creating an Advent calendar, writing Christmas cards, gathering with family and friends for dinner, and giving gifts.
The word Advent finds its origin in Old English from the Latin word “adventus,” or “coming”—the arrival of God in human form, umbilical cord and all.
While some are tempted to think of Christmas as an event to be observed at the end of the calendar year, they would miss the origin and meaning of Advent.
We don’t know when the period of preparation for Christmas now called Advent began. It was certainly in existence from about 480 with the Council of Tours in 567. What we know and celebrate is a time of preparation for Christmas Day when we celebrate the birth or beginning of the Christian liturgical year.
Advent anticipates the “coming of Christ” from three different perspectives:
- The physical Nativity in Bethlehem
- The reception of Christ in the heart of the believer
- The eschatological second coming
This third meaning, I believe, was the focus of the early church—to wait for Christ’s second coming. This, however, has become downplayed among today’s Christians.
What if our focus was to shift to waiting, anticipating, preparing for the King’s return to earth, the defeat of Satan and sin, and peace on earth? Now that would be something to anticipate and to celebrate.
So this Advent season, as you decorate for Christmas, sing the carols, and light the advent wreath, try to anticipate—look forward to Christ’s return and with it peace on earth. What if we wished each other a “Blessed Advent” as a prelude to “Merry Christmas?”
In doing so we can simultaneously give and receive the love of God to each other—as we anticipate and draw near his birth.
I wish you a joy-filled Advent.
The Write Stuff
Looking at Life from a different point of view
Excerpt from Wondrous Light © 2021 by Selah Center. Editors Mary Pandiani and Debora Buerk.
True hope to celebrate—and share!
Are you longing to reconnect with the true spirit and essence of Christmas?
Through reflections on scripture from the Revised Standard Lectionary, creative writings, and light-filled, inspiring photography, Wondrous Light guides us through the Advent season, preparing our hearts to deeply celebrate Christ’s birth. The centerpieces of Wondrous Light are the personal reflections, poetry and art contributed by Selah community members which encourage us to contemplate God’s purpose, impact, and action in our lives and the world, during this season and far beyond.
Wondrous Light is published by Selah Center
Wondrous Light is published by the SelahCenter.org a welcoming community based in Washington state, that pauses, encounters the Spirit through contemplative practices, and grows together toward wholeness and loving others.
Get to know Selah through Kairos
You can learn more about Selah, its principles and its programs at selahcenter.org. But, you can experience Selah through Kairos. Every Friday morning at 10 a.m., we spend an hour of contemplation in community whereby we pause, encounter the Spirit through contemplative practices, and grow together towards wholeness and loving others. It’s a drop-in time whereby you’ll have an opportunity for break-out groups or personal quiet after some teaching and exploration. Join us by contacting email@example.com to get the link to our Zoom time. Kairos is open to all without a fee.
Wondrous Light is available now on Amazon.com in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle.
The size and design make Wondrous Light a book you’ll want to display on your coffee table. So don’t delay in ordering your copy so you can enjoy it throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons for years to come.
Indeed. Good advice to count blessings.
Happy New Year! This song is for us.
Happy New Year!
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