Today, we actually celebrate one of the holidays from that Liturgical Church Calendar, which is called Advent, or the New Year in Christ's Church (liturgically speaking).
What is Advent exactly? Holly Scheer recently wrote...
This Sunday begins the season of Advent for western Christian churches. While it might be tempting to go from Thanksgiving straight to Christmas preparations, this skips an important season in the church year, which helps us fully enjoy the Christmas celebration. Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ. We prepare not just for celebrating his birth, but we get ready for the second coming and remember how he comes to us in our daily lives. The time of the year is hectic and busy with activities at school, work, church, and in the community, as well as all the family expectations. There’s also the pressure to locate the perfect gifts for everyone on our ever-expanding lists while sticking to a budget and not over-commercializing the holidays. In the midst of all this activity it can be easy to forget that Advent is more than some kind of pre-Christmas.
Wow! What's this? This is new!
See, for me, even though I had heard that word my entire life, and even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in a Lutheran church, it wasn't until I was converted from being an American Evangelical (and a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only") to becoming a Confessional Lutheran that I began to seriously wonder what this funny word really meant to us believers.
So, for 30 some years, "Advent" was just a word and some foreign concept that I heard in church a few times a year from the Pastor's mount -- if I even went to church on the non-holidays, that is.
What is Advent? Thankfully, Concordia Publishing House (CPH) both asked and answered that question with a very nice video they produced last year that I thought was with sharing with you here today.
Here's how Lutheranism 101 For Kids sums it up...
The Church Year begins with the season of Advent, four Sundays before Christmas. The word advent means "coming," and in this season, we prepare for the coming of Jesus on Christmas. We also prepare our hearts for Jesus' return at the end of time. We must be ready for His coming. Because we want to live in heaven with Him, we hope that every day could be the day Jesus returns. We are sorry for our sins, and we receive God's gift of forgiveness with joy. The cloths on the altar in Advent are a deeper color of blue or violet. Blue is the color of hope, and we are filled with hope as we expect Jesus' return; violet is the color for repentance. We pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!" Your church may have an Advent wreath with four candles, three blue or violet and one pink. The pink candle stands for joy. There may also be a white Christ candle in the center. A candle is lit for each week of Advent.
Hopefully, you find that to be as helpful as I did in quickly summarizing the whole season of Advent, why we celebrate it, how it still has application to our lives today, and what the colors and items mean when you see them at church.
Please be sure to follow all of that up by reading Holly Scheer's "10 Simple Ways To Celebrate Advent" which I hope to add to my own family traditions this year. Yes, I think it's time to start some new traditions!
In a Lutheran layman's terms, Advent is a time for us to prayerfully consider how we wait for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is is most assuredly going to come again at his Second Advent.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Executive Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!