Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Everyone doesn't celebrate Advent, and some people don't know what Advent is. This article will explain what Advent is, the dates of Advent, the four themes as well as other interesting things about Advent.
First of all, Advent is a very important period in the Christian year. It is four weeks observed by many Christians just before the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent is in a way similar to Lent which is the period just before Easter that is celebrated just before Jesus died on the cross. Both are periods of waiting expectantly and preparing for something great to happen in Christianity.
Advent comes from a Latin word that means "coming." Biblical people waited with anticipation for the Messiah to come to earth over 2,000 years ago. Then they celebrated the birth of Jesus when He came to earth the first time. Today, Christians wait for and prepare for His Second Coming even though no one knows when that will be.
Dates of Advent
The dates for Advent are not the same every year. Advent 2020 starts on Thursday, November 29, and ends on Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve. The themes for the four weeks remain the same every year.
There is a theme for each week of the four weeks of Advent. This is the list of how most churches celebrate Advent.
Week 1 - Sunday, December 1: Hope
Week 2 - Sunday, December 8: Peace
Week 3 - Sunday, December 15: Joy
Week 4 - Sunday, December 22: Love
The universal color for Advent is purple or violet. Some Christian churches use blue or red for their color of Advent. For instance, the Lutheran Book of Worship lists blue as the preferred color for Advent.
The Presbyterian Book of Common Worship and the Methodist Book of Worship list either purple or blue as colors for Advent. Some churches prefer purple and pink.
Whatever color a church chooses is acceptable because each assembly has its own preference.
An Advent wreath is usually placed in churches with a colored candle placed for each of the four themes. If the church chose purple or violet for its color, then candles of that color are placed in the center of the wreath along with a pink candle. A purple or violet candle is lighted each week, and the pink candle is lighted along with the others for the last week.
Advent Sermons and Scriptures
It is not mandatory, but it would be very helpful if pastors would choose the theme for each week to share with their congregation. There are many sermons that could be used based on hope, peace, joy, and love.
Scriptures pertaining to each theme could be read throughout the worship service as well as music could be played. Everything that can be done to bring the feeling of Advent into a worship service would be appropriate and appreciated by those who want to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a more spiritual way.
Involve the Congregation in Advent
When I was the Director of Christian Education at a church, I prepared the Advent wreath with the colored candles and placed it on a table in the front of the church. Each week, I designated two people to come forward. One would read a scripture that corresponded to the theme while the other person lighted the appropriate candle. It was a very sacred moment for the two participants as well as for the congregation that witnessed the act.
The two people chosen had something in common. For example, I selected a husband and wife for the first week. For the second week, I selected two youths. On the third week, I selected two older parishioners. For the final week, I selected two pastors of the church.
There are many other activities that the entire congregation could take part in. It just takes a little imagination and creativity to make the Advent season a spiritual experience.
Suggested Advent Activities
In case you have never incorporated Advent activities into your life leading up to Christmas, here are a few suggestions.
- Attend Advent services at a local church if your church doesn't observe Advent.
- Play sacred music in your house and car.
- Watch Advent services on television.
- Read scriptures in your Bible surrounding the theme for each week.
- Share what you know about Advent with your family.
Feel free to share in the comments section below your personal Advent memories whether they were at your church or something special you did on your own to prepare for the celebration of the birth of your Lord and Savior. Others might find it interesting and might incorporate the activity into their own celebration.
Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on December 02, 2019:
Thank you Margaret, for your informative information concerning Advent. Being raised Baptist I had heard of it but it was not celebrated. However, there are two different clear prophecies revealing two Christs, the stone Moses smote twice and the "Rod" (Isaiah 11:1) from the stream of Jesse, that few Christians ever mention, actually represents Jesus because his genealogy is recorded in the Bible. The "Branch from his roots who arrived about the time Israel was restored in Palestine" (11:9-12) who we are looking for today. Putting his Advent in what you said could make it true to Him because of the following.
The Bible's feasts representing the coming of the two messiahs are usually celebrated in the Hebrew month that's between September and October. That means the birth of Jesus called Christ would have happened somewhere during that time. Because the second stone (Num. 20:1-11) smitten by Moses represents the second messiah has to die twice, one would represent the "Spiritual conception" (death of the carnal man) for the "new Birth" of the second messiah to happen on one of those feasts.
Since finding the 2 messiah I have often suggested Christmas celebration could mean the "unmasking of the Christ". In that light I can your Advent information as, not the birth, the second Christ's resurrection. Jesus did say "pray that it doesn't happen on the Sabbath for in winter," I believe that meant the second Christ's manifestation would happen at that time.
I suggest you give that a prayerful study before posting it.