What is Advent?
The Church calendar is full of seasons and events that are all meant to point us to Jesus Christ. Advent is where it all begins for us in the Church today. At a time when the world around us thinks of winter wonderlands and flying reindeer, all while going crazy over sales and trying to outdo their neighbors’ lighting displays, Christians are called to slow down and keep our focus fixed on Jesus Christ our Lord, on who He is, and what He has done for us. We focus on His gifts to us, not on what we do.
The word Advent comes to us from Latin, and means “coming.” This season is a time of excitement, celebration, and anticipation. But even as we await Jesus’ birth at Christmas, we are also preparing for and anticipating the Second Coming of Christ, which is both the Day of Judgment and the day we will meet our Savior face to-face. Let us together look to the birth of our King and the return of our King. We have a faithful God who always keeps His promises!
The Four Weeks of Advent
Many Christians are familiar with having an Advent wreath on their table during the Advent season. Seeing it throughout our day helps fix our eyes on Christ, the coming of our King, the true reason for the season. Each candle has a special meaning, outlined below:
Week 1 – Hope(see Isaiah 9:6) – God promised His people of old that He would send a Savior, who would rescue us from sin, death, and the devil. And He did! Use this week to specifically talk about what hope you have as God’s children.
Week 2 – Peace(see Luke 3:4-6) – Jesus’ death on the cross removes our sin from us. That means our rebellion against God, our own self-destructive war against Him, is over. Christ is victorious! And at the end of war comes peace. In this world we will have trouble, but Jesus, our Prince of Peace, makes us right with God!
Week 3 – Joy(see Luke 2:15) – The word “joy” is a tricky one in English as most people assume it means “happy.” But, it means so much more! Think of it instead as the treasure that you have in Christ. He is our joy, as He gives us all that we need, including life everlasting with Him in Paradise. As you hear the word “joy” tossed about in the world’s secular celebrations, use it as a time to reflect on the joy that you have in Christ!
Week 4 – Love(see Matthew 1:21) – Jesus shows us what love truly is, the willingness to lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13). It is to care for someone else unconditionally, no matter what. Have a conversation this week about how we can love others as Christ has first loved us.