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What is Advent?
November 21, 2023, 2:02 PM

Very simply put, Advent is the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas morning. It is a special season in the Church to prepare for Advent, but it has not always been how it currently is today.

In the 3rd century, the Church celebrated Epiphany (the arrival of the the Maji, bringing their gifts to the Christ child), Easter (the resurrection of Jesus), and Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit and birth of the Church). Each of those celebration days were when people celebrated baptisms.

By the 4th century, more celebrations were added to the Church cycle. There was Advent, which was begun as a season of preparation for baptism on Epiphany. Christmas began to be celebrated. They celebrated the circumcision of Jesus (yes, strange thing to celebrate). Then there was Epiphany followed by Jesus being presented in the Temple.

In all those years, Advent was celebrated as 4 or 5 Sundays before Christmas. It was not until the 11th century that it was set firm at four Sundays before Christmas day.

These days, Advent has many traditions, but they are still developing and may have some variations from one congregation to another. 

Most churches that have Advent celebrations decorate the church in special ways- everything has a meaning back to God and Jesus. I'll elaborate on those in a later post.

Many light special candles for the season- sometimes in a wreath, sometimes displayed in other ways. These candles take on different meanings, but most of the time you will hear they are for "Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. There is usually a white candle that is lit on Christmas Eve that represents Christ's birth. The lighting of those candles generally holds a special time in the regular worship service each week of Advent.

While Advent traditions vary and are still developing in many ways, the same has always held true: Advent is a season of preparation. 

This Advent, may you find some special time to slow down and prepare your heart, mind, life, and home, for receiving the birth of the Christ child. If you are looking for a place to do that, your presence would be a gift to us this season of worship.