WHAT IS ADVENT?
The Advent season is a time for setting our gaze afresh on Jesus Christ, celebrating the hope, peace, joy, and love that he brings with his coming. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas.
For hundreds of years, Christians have used the Advent wreath as a visual example of a symbol that is borrowed from the emphasis throughout Scripture of Jesus Christ being the Light of the World (Matt. 4:16; John 1:4-9, 8:12). Each week a new candle is lit, building up anticipation for Christmas Eve.
The last candle, called the Christ Candle, is lit on Christmas Eve to represent Jesus’ first advent. Through this theme of increasing light breaking into the darkness, we see a visual picture of the gospel. We are reminded about the meaning of Christ’s birth and become more excited about his coming in the past, in the future, and in the present, through each of our lives.
In an increasingly busy and frenzied world, Advent is an opportunity for believers to slow down and remember God’s promise to send a Savior who would overcome sin and death forever; a promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ. As we set our gaze upon him, Christ becomes the substance of our hope, the source of our peace, the object of our joy, and enfolds us in the gift of his love.