What is Advent?

Written by Darren Hewer

adventhouseOne of my fondest childhood memories of the Christmas season is the Advent calendars my brother and I would receive every year. If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, the particular version my family enjoyed consisted of a nearly flat decorated cardboard box, with tiny doors on it, numbered from 1 to 24 representing the days leading up to Christmas Eve.

Every day we would open one of the cardboard doors and behind each one we’d find a tiny chocolate. Every one of the chocolates was uniquely molded in a Christmas related shape. It was a fun diversion for us as kids as we impatiently awaited the arrival of Christmas day. But it doesn’t tell us much about the actual season of Advent. What is Advent?

The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, somewhere between November 27 and December 3, depending on the year.  Advent is the period leading up to Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, also known as Jesus Christ. It is unknown when this tradition first began, but this period of waiting is often seen in the Christian tradition as a reminder that the world remains waiting for Jesus’ return.

The traditional color of Advent is purple, the color often associated with royalty, although today blue and red are also used. Modern day celebrations of Advent include  Advent calendars, Advent wreaths, lighting special Advent candles, and a series of themed Sunday messages leading up to Christmas day.

Take the next step:

Was Jesus born on December 25th?
Take a lesson: Discovering Advent
Home Alone for the Holidays – When the most joyous time of year … isn’t.

Do you or your family have Advent traditions? Share them with us in the comments!

Image credit: tollens, used with permission, Creative Commons 2.0 License.

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