The word “Advent” is taken from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” The season of Advent is the first season of the Christian liturgical year and covers the four Sundays prior to Christmas. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and lasts until sundown on December 24, Christmas Eve, after which the formal season of Christmas begins.
In Advent we prepare for and celebrate all the ways that Christ comes to us. Of course, in Advent we always think of the coming birth of the Christ Child on Christmas morning and the gift of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry.
But Advent means more than just that. We also prepare for and celebrate all the ways Christ is still coming to us, through the Word read, proclaimed, and sung, through the sacraments of baptism and communion, through the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit, and through our communion with the body of Christ in the church and in our Christian friends and family.
Finally, we prepare and celebrate for the time when Christ will come again in final victory, history will come to an end, and creation will reach its final consummation.
As we observe Advent this season, prepare for the coming of Christ in your heart. Try to find time to get away from the business of the season and be still. Make your heart a manger ready to receive the Holy Child. O come, O come, Emmanuel!