Advent shares the Latin root adventus meaning “a coming, approach, or arrival.” It’s part of the word “adventure” – which I love! Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas Day – not just the first 24 days of December. In a way, Advent wreaths are more accurate timekeepers than Advent calendars, although I am a fan of both.
Advent is the season of “already/not yet”: Christ has already come/Christ has not yet returned. I am a believer/God help my unbelief (see Mark 9). I am a complete human as I am/I am still learning to be fully human. Advent carries the weight of the end times balanced with the hope of the Kingdom of God. Consequently, it is a season of penitence and introspection, a time for prayer and silence, and a time of thinking through what the Church is, and what it will become. That’s why we light candles, and read about John the Baptist, and focus on confession and spiritual growth. We remember Christ coming as a vulnerable baby, and hope for the coming of Christ the Prince of Peace.
Advent gets really lost in the shuffle of seasonal chaos – the ridiculously early arrival of Christmas junk in all the stores even before Halloween, and the commercialism of toys and Santa and stuff, the intensity of parties and food and beverages and even having to pretend to like your Aunt Betty – it can all seem pretty insane..
So I invite you this advent season to really slow down. I invite you to fill your calendar with things that help you prepare once again to tell the story of the salvation of the world. The world can have all the rest. But for you, my friend, this advent season is calling you back in for so much more than any store could ever offer..
May this Advent prepare your hearts for the wonderful good news of the season.