The season of Advent, which begins the Christian calendar, gets its name from the Latin word adventus which means a coming or arrival. Since the fourth century, Christians have set aside the four Sundays preceding Christmas as a time of waiting and a time of spiritual preparation before the celebration of Christ’s birth.
Advent seeks to slow us down during this time of the year and remind us of how much we need a Savior so that when Christmas arrives we can find even greater joy in our Savior’s birth.
Think of how much time we spend preparing just to meet the demands of the Christmas season– buying, wrapping, and delivering presents; preparing for parties we will either host or attend or both; traveling to relatives or hosting relatives; decorating our homes; assembling toys; preparing Christmas cards; preparing special foods… and on and on.
Advent is a way for Christians to push back against this. In our gathered worship we are awed by the miracle of the incarnation and reminded of our need for the gospel. This sends us back to our homes and families asking, how does my heart need to be tuned to the gospel and isn’t this what I most need out of Christmas? And that’s why.