Advent 101


What is Advent?

Advent is a season of the church year during which we prepare our hearts for Christ's coming. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical means "from liturgy," which means the forms and functions of public worship.]

When is Advent?

The dates of Advent vary each year, but it always contains the four Sundays before Christmas Day.

When did Christians begin observing Advent?

The season of Advent began being observed around the fourth century of Christianity. In recent years, Protestant churches have begun to reclaim that part of their history by observing Advent.

What does the Advent Wreath represent?

Lots of people celebrate Advent by using an Advent wreath. It's often four candles on a circular wreath signifying the four weeks of Advent. A candle in the center is the Christ candle, lit on Christmas Day and Epiphany. Usually the four candles are purple or blue. If you celebrate Gaudete Sunday on the third week, that candle is pink. (Gaudete means "rejoice" in Latin.) The Christ candle is white. Advent's primary message is to wait, listen, get in touch with God, and prepare our lives and hearts for Jesus' coming. For speeded up, stressed out people (that would be most of us), this is an intriguing invitation. Observe Advent -- and get more in touch with God.

What is an Advent Calendar?

An Advent calendar is a traditional way to count down the days of the season. Some Advent calendars have special doors or flaps that open to reveal a special treat or activity for the day. This tradition was first observed by German Lutherans in the 19th century, but the Advent calendar is now used by Christians of many denominations