Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. This year it begins on November 30, which means many of us will be so distracted by our Thanksgiving celebrations, that we’ll hardly be able to think about this new season. Traditionally we celebrate Advent as a time of expectant waiting for the birth of Jesus. The term Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”, but how do we anticipate the coming of something that has already arrived? When we shift away from an understanding of Advent as a countdown to Jesus’ birthday and receive it as time set aside to consider the here-and-now of God, we can see more clearly the mercies of each new morning and the miracle of Jesus birth.
In preparation for Advent:
• Make Advent a priority, put it on your schedule now
• Prepare an Advent wreath and candles during your Thanksgiving celebration
• Look for an Advent devotional that inspires you
• Make room for something, someone, some-place, new this Advent Season – traditions are expected; new things bring with them the energy of the unknown.
The themes of Advent include hope, peace, joy and love. Note that guilt is not on this list. It’s not about getting it right or disciplining yourself in rigid piety. Advent is about being open to the wondrous ways God is moving among us and leading us toward ways of joy filled expectant living.