What is Advent, and why celebrate it?

30 November 2014

Today is the first day of Advent. Please feel free to download and use our Advent Devotional in the run-up to Christmas.

What is Advent?

Since the 4th Century, Christians have been celebrating Advent to intentionally place their focus on the implications of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As all of the holiday hustle and bustle starts to set in, it’s far too easy to wake up on Christmas day thinking about everything but Jesus. Advent helps us fix our attention back on the One who matters most.

When we celebrate Advent, we re-live all of the longing and yearning for the coming of the Messiah that our ancestors in the faith experienced before us. We look back and remember the people of the Old Testament as they waited for the Saviour that God had promised through the prophets. Advent reminds us that God became an infant by sending His Son, Jesus, to the world to live the perfect life that we could not. Ultimately, Jesus came to redeem His people by dying on a cross, as our substitute, for our sin so that the wrath of God the Father would be completely satisfied, and we would be fully accepted. Jesus came and was born ultimately to go to a cross and die in the place of His people.

Advent also reminds us that one day, Jesus will return to the earth, not to suffer for sins again, but to bring us home to the Father and destroy His enemies. It’s during this season that we look forward to and anticipate Jesus’ second Advent where He will put an end to all pain, suffering, and death.

The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which simply means “coming” or “arrival.” But when we use the word Advent, we are referring to the long-awaited arrival of Jesus Christ, who entered our world as a crying infant 2,000 years ago. Followers of Jesus have celebrated His miraculous birth (and the anticipation of it) for centuries during the season of Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.

In summary, this is why we celebrate Advent:

  1. To re-live the anticipation of the Old Testament saints
  2. To remember the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ
  3. To fix our eyes back on Jesus during the busy Christmas season
  4. To grow in passion and desire for the return of our Saviour

Our Advent Devotional has readings for each day and week of the Advent season.

This blog post was written by Dan Martin.