This week began the season of Advent, the celebration of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Different churches celebrate Advent in a variety of ways. You may also have a personal way in which you honor God during this time. There is no one tried and true way to live out this season, but it can be an impactful time of preparation, reflection, and spiritual rebirth.
It is an old tradition within our faith, but one of powerful significance. There are layers of meaning beneath what it appears to be on the surface. The time of Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation for Jesus’ entry into the world. The word “advent” means “coming” in Latin.
What we typically see as a remembrance of Jesus’ birth actually has a threefold meaning. What are these three meanings found in this season?
Celebrating Jesus’ Birth
This meaning is the most obvious. Advent is a Christian celebration of the Christmas season lived out through intentional worship practices. There are many ways that Christians live this out in practice, but the idea is the same. One of the most widely spread traditions is the Christmas tree. It is set-up on the first day of Advent as a visual reminder and celebration of the season for many people of faith.
Remembering Jesus’ Impact on our Lives
Advent can also be an excellent time to reflect on Jesus’ arrival in our lives personally. As Christians, we all have a story of when we came to faith in Christ. Just like Jesus’ entry into the world was the defining moment of human history, His arrival into our hearts was likely the most impactful of our life. Let this season also serve as a reminder of that moment.
Anticipating Jesus’ Return
The third and perhaps most relevant meaning of Advent is the hopeful anticipation of Jesus’ return. The Biblical story has not come to its conclusion. Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected, and has ascended, but He will return once more. Acts 1:11 reads, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (NIV). Advent is also a season to humbly prepare for the time when Christ returns to usher in God’s future Kingdom once and for all.
This Advent season, consider everything this time represents and use it as motivation to deepen your faith. During your time living out your regular holiday traditions, remember Jesus’ presence in your life and the real meaning behind everything that you are doing. Also, take the time to further a spiritual discipline in your life, whether it be Bible reading, prayer, fasting, etc. Advent is the perfect time to recommit to your faith, striving towards a deeper relationship with Jesus!