Advent is an anticipation of Christ’s birth and is celebrated in the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
In this article we will define what Advent is, how to worship Christ during Advent, the history of Advent, and when Advent starts.
What is Advent?
During Advent, Christians celebrate the remembrance of Christ’s first coming and the anticipation of his second coming.
“Advent” means “coming” and is derived from the Latin word adventus.
The symbolism of Advent is connected with the present situation of the church in these “last days.” It’s a time when Christians are waiting for Christ’s return to set up His eternal kingdom.
“‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.'”
– Acts 2:17
“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
Using advent to put Christ back in Christmas
Advent readings are the perfect way to put Christ back into Christmas.
Advent is a time to read passages from Scripture for both remembrance and anticipation.
Over the of the four-week course of Advent, Scripture readings begin with passages about Christ’s return in judgment, to passages from Old Testament passages about the expectation of the coming Messiah, then progress to passages from the New Testament about the announcements of Christ’s arrival by John the Baptist and the Angels.
You can find advent devotionals that provide you with the perfect Scripture readings for each day of Advent, and there are many such devotionals available at both regular book retailers and Christian bookstores.
The history of Advent
Scholars believe the celebration of Advent began sometime between the forth and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul.
Originally, this was a 40-day season of preparation that was spent in penance, prayer, and fasting, and it had little connection with Christmas.
By the 6th century, Roman Christians connected Advent to the coming of Christ. However, this was not connected to Christ’s birth, but rather his second coming to judge the world.
During the middle ages, the Advent season was connected to Christ’s birth and Christmas.
When Advent starts
Today, the Advent season begins on the first of four Sundays leading up to Christmas day.
On the yearly calendar, the start of Advent typically falls on a Sunday within November 27th and December 3rd each year.
Then Christmastide is celebrated, which lasts twelve days beginning with Christmas Eve up until Epiphany on January 6
Advent dates for 2019 and 2020
Advent begins on Sunday, December 1, 2019, and ends on Tuesday, December 24, 2019.
In 2020, Advent will begin on Sunday, November 29, and will end on Thursday, December 24, 2020.