Why I Love Advent

by: Heather HoltDec 14, 20113 comments

I love Advent. Christmas can be so crazy and commercialized in the United States – everyone is in a frenzy to get things done, to buy all the gifts on your list, to go to every Christmas event for your kids, and so on. But Advent changes things entirely. Advent is the exact opposite of what the Christmas season has become. Advent is all about waiting, expectancy and patience. Christians around the world celebrate Advent as a way to remember Christ’s birth, and as the Jewish people waited for centuries for their promised Messiah, we also wait for Christ once more.

Many churches around this time of year light advent candles in the four weeks prior to Christmas, with each candle representing a different theme of advent: Hope. Joy. Love. Peace. And the fifth candle, lit on Christmas day, is for Jesus. Even the physical act of lighting the candles every week requires care and patience. There is no frenzy or rushing when you light a candle. It requires a slow, steady and deliberate movement to ensure that you light the candle and not the entire wreath or church! Just like the slow, steady action of lighting a candle, we are also supposed to slow down and reflect on this season and what it means to wait for the final realization of Christ’s kingdom.  We’re supposed to be waiting, wondering “when will the Messiah come?” And we wait with hope. We live with joy. We act in love. We walk in peace.

That’s why I love Advent. If there is one antidote for the mess that has become the American Christmas, it’s not forcing the word “Christmas” on everyone. It’s living out the actual season we are in: Advent. It’s in living out advent’s characteristics of hope, joy, love and peace as patiently as we can. It’s in failing miserably, as I do every day and then trying once more, because the Messiah is coming.

Hope. Love. Joy. Peace. Repeat.

Comments

Karina
Dec 15, 2011

Great blog post! Thank you for sharing. I too am pondering the meaning of advent more and more.
I write for the Far East Broadcasting Blog, and am currently doing a post about advent that will come out sometime next week.
http://www.febc.org/blog/febc

Heather Holt
Dec 15, 2011

Thanks Karina! I will definitely keep an eye out for your blog post on Advent!

Prudence
Dec 16, 2011

I too love Advent.  It is a season that reminds me that being a child is important to God.  He came as a child and I have to be like a child to come to Him.  Best childlikeness is innocence, full of wonder, trusting, with no care in the world.  I am asking God to make me more like a child this Advent.

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Heather Holt

Heather Holt is the managing editor of the William Carey International Development Journal. She has an MA in Gender and Peacebuilding from the University for Peace in Costa Rica.