Why Do We Refer To Christmas Time As The Advent Season?
In the first centuries of the Christian tradition, the church developed a calendar of special holy days and seasons to be observed throughout the year. This is called the “Liturgical Calendar.” Advent is the first season of the Christian year. The name comes from the Latin word, adventus, which means “coming.” It is the season in which we celebrate Jesus’ first coming as a baby, to live with us and, ultimately, to die for us. The observance of Advent is also a time to turn our attention to the fact that the same Jesus, who was born to the Virgin Mary as a helpless infant, will one day return, as the King of Kings, to judge the world.
Christians began celebrating the birth of Jesus sometime in the late 4th century, and the celebration of the Season of Advent developed in the centuries that followed. By the late 6th century, Advent was an established tradition in the Western church. Originally, it began in early November and was a time for reflection, fasting, and penitence, similar to the Season of Lent, which leads up to Easter. Over the centuries, it has developed into a season of celebration and joyful anticipation of Christmas Day, which includes the four Sundays before Christmas Day.
Like many churches, at TCC, we mark the Advent season with purple banners at the front of the Sanctuary and on the Communion Table, to symbolize Jesus’ royal birth. We also place an Advent wreath at the front of the Sanctuary, which holds four candles representing the four Sundays of Advent, and a larger candle in the middle, called the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas Eve.
A common theme during the advent season is “preparation.” As we look forward to Christmas, we should remember that Jesus came not only to live in our world but also to live in our hearts; so it is appropriate to examine our hearts, preparing them afresh to be a suitable dwelling place for our savior and King.
Pastor Jon EnrightDecember 1, 2016