What is the "Advent season"? We've moved and are in a new church, and they've made several announcements recently about what they'll be doing during Advent season, but I'm not clear what they mean. — Mrs. T.M.
The word "advent" means "arrival," and it refers to the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world. The "Advent season" usually starts four weeks before Christmas and concludes with the celebration of Christ's birth.
Some churches emphasize the Advent season more than others, but all Christians look forward to Christ's birth during this season of the year. And why not, since the coming of Jesus Christ into the world is at the center of our faith? Even people who aren't religious divide their calendar into two parts -- the centuries before Christ's birth ("B.C.") and the centuries afterward ("A.D.," or "after the Lord").
Remember: Christmas is more than the birthday of a great man. The Bible tells us that Christmas marks the entrance into the world of the divine Son of God, sent from heaven to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ was God in human flesh -- fully man, but also fully God. The Bible says, "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9).
Take time between now and Christmas to reflect on this great truth. Read passages from the Old Testament that predicted His coming (often in startling detail); read too the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke that tell of the events surrounding His birth. Then thank God every day for the greatest gift we could ever receive: the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.