Why Do We Celebrate Advent?

5 min read

Advent means ‘coming’, and it is the time when Christians look forward to the coming of Jesus to our earth as a baby in a manger. We celebrate Advent during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, beginning with the Sunday four weeks prior to Christmas. Christians of all different denominations celebrate it.

Ways To Celebrate Advent

There are many different ways to celebrate Advent including the famous chocolate Advent calendars, which raise excitement for old and young alike. In this blog, we will firstly be looking at who celebrates Advent, followed by some tips on how we can go about celebrating it as well as the benefits of marking it.

Lighting an Advent wreath is a custom that began with Lutherans and Catholics in 16th-century Germany. Many churches still do this today. Typically, the Advent wreath is a circle of branches or garland with four or five candles arranged on the wreath. During the season of Advent, we light one candle on the wreath each Sunday as a part of Advent services. The green wreath represents the continuous light of Christ.

The First Purple Candle

On the first Sunday, we light the first purple candle, which represents the hope people felt before Jesus was born. For the second Sunday, we light the second purple candle, which represents faith. We light the pink candle on the third Sunday, which represents joy. The final purple candle is lit on the fourth Sunday, which represents the coming of Jesus Christ. On Christmas Eve, the final candle is lit, which is white. It is placed in the center of the wreath and represents the purity of Jesus and that he came into the world without sin.

Who Celebrates Advent?

Many of us celebrate Advent to a degree, with the counting down of days and sleeps until the most exciting day of all – Christmas. Most Christians see candles being lit in church and count down the days, but how can we observe this sacred time of looking forward to the coming of Jesus in our homes?

What if we could celebrate Advent in a way that shed light on the meaning of Christmas and that gave us space amongst the business to remember the reason for the season?

How Can We Celebrate Advent?

A fantastic book that I highly recommend is Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It is a guide on how you can create your very own Jesse Tree, which explores Jesus’ family tree. It is a wonderful meditation to go through at Advent with readings you can do with your family each day.

Advent starts in the darkness. Just like the flickering flame of a candle, the hope of the savior’s coming starts out small. Making space to mark Advent comes as an antidote to the materialistic side of Christmas, with all the business, socializing, and shopping. Advent speaks of hope. But it also speaks of waiting, stilling ourselves, and being at peace amongst the tides that swirl around us.

Read on for a simple guide of ways to take time in Advent.

1. Make Space

First of all, carve out time each day. Even if you and your family gather for just ten minutes a day, make every effort to stick to this time to reflect on the big story that is unfolding around you.

2. Use A Devotional

Secondly, it can be really useful to use a devotional to guide your thoughts. As I mentioned, you can find free Advent devotionals online, or you could use Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp as a guide.

3. Light A Candle

Lastly, why not light a candle to remember the light of the world who stepped down into our world to bring us salvation?

FiveBible Verses Of Hope For Advent

A Great Light

“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light”
(Isaiah 9:2)

And Jesus is that great light. He is hope for the whole world, today and every day.

A Child Is Born

“To us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.”
(Isaiah 9: 6)

Isn’t it awesome to think of that tiny baby coming into this world, at once a child, and the Almighty God?

A Shoot From The Stump Of Jesse

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse.
(Isaiah 11:1)

Jesus is hope where there was no hope. In Isaiah’s vision, he describes a wasteland, which represents Israel in the midst of the Assyrian invasion. But then amongst the desolation, a shoot of green. And out of this desperate situation, came Jesus, the savior of the world. Eugene Peterson has a wonderful essay on this in his book As Kingfishers Catch Fire, called “The Root of Jesse”. Blazing hope came out of a situation where it looked like there was none at all.

The Word Became Flesh

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

This verse never ceases to amaze me. Jesus is the Word. He is the impossible made possible through faith. He stepped down into our dark world and put on flesh to walk with His beloved children.

His Kingdom Will Never End

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus […] His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

Mary’s faith astounds me in this passage. Here she is, an unmarried woman, and she is chosen by God to bear a savior. She believes straight away, and then the promise is made manifest in her body. She has believed and she sees.

And Jesus’ kingdom will never end. This is why placing our hope in Jesus is so amazing. When the world around us is shaking, He is dependable, faithful, and all-powerful. His kingdom will never end. Amen.

Make Space

So finally, may you find time this year to make space for the holy among the madness, to make space for the waiting and expectation. May the joy of hope fill you as you await again the miracle of the coming of Jesus into this fallen world, as a helpless baby, to bring us light and life eternal. Amen.

Why not also have a look at our other blogs on the Christmas season to help you reflect on the deeper meaning for the season?

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

Photo by Zoran Kokanovic on Unsplash


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