Advent is the season four weeks before Christmas in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. It begins on the Sunday nearest to 30th November. Advent is the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and its name comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’, which means “coming”.
The season also celebrates Christ’s anticipated coming again in the fullness of time to rule triumphantly over life in heaven and earth, as well as the coming of Christ as the infant Saviour whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. And, because the season emphasises Christ’s comings and not just his birth, it’s more than just a time to get ready for Christmas. It is a penitential season. Advent reminds us that the question is not whether Jesus will return to judge the earth, but when.
The season of Advent came into being toward the middle of the sixth century. At first, the Advent Season was determined as the six Sundays leading up to Christmas. This was then reduced to four Sundays in the seventh century.
Before the seventh century, Christmas was a secondary feast, but as it came to take on more and more importance, so the season of Advent evolved in a similar manner. Advent became more solemn and its orientation changed. From just being a time to prepare for Christmas, it became a time to look to the return of the Lord and now the Sundays of Advent reflect this double perspective of waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus (First and Second Sundays) and the immediate preparation for the feast of Christmas (Third and Fourth Sundays).
God’s first intervention within our history came not in the form of some instant or earth shattering event, but instead God chose to come into the world as we all do, to be born as a baby in the midst of a chaotic world. By our own impatient standards this seems such a slow way to bring salvation to the world. But God may not always choose the easy answer or the quick fix. By His earthly incarnation He demonstrates a total commitment to the very core of humanity. A commitment, to its day by day routines and challenges, a commitment to humanity from the cradle to the grave and beyond. And in that same incarnational way, God comes to us day by day, through the working of the Spirit, through His Word and Sacrament, making the ordinary extraordinary; making the broken whole; and redeeming and restoring the past, present and future, whatever they hold.
There is much about Advent to enjoy, the Advent wreaths found in our churches where they have four candles to be lit each Sunday and one for Christmas Day. But in the midst of our church we know that, just as we prepare for Christmas, so we have to make ready to welcome Jesus in our lives.
As a church family let us worship together this Advent
Sunday 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd December – 10.00 am, 11.30 am and 7 pm
Thursday 5th, 12th and 19th December at 7.30 pm