What is Advent?

What is Advent?


Advent, a word that resonates with anticipation, holds a special place in the hearts of millions worldwide. It marks the beginning of the Christian liturgical year and serves as a period of profound spiritual significance. Advent is a time of preparation, reflection, and, most notably, the joyful expectation of the birth of Jesus Christ. In this article, we explore the meaning, importance, and traditions of Advent, shedding light on its deep-rooted significance in Christian theology and practice.

What Does Advent Mean?

The term "Advent" is derived from the Latin word "adventus," which means "coming" or "arrival." It encompasses the idea of awaiting someone or something of great importance. In the Christian context, Advent symbolizes the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer.

Why Is Advent Important?

A Season of Hope

Advent embodies a profound sense of hope. It signifies the anticipation of Christ's coming, mirroring the centuries of yearning by the Jewish people for the Messiah. It reminds believers of the enduring hope that, in the midst of darkness, a great light will shine.

A Time of Preparation

Advent encourages spiritual preparation. It is an opportunity for self-examination, repentance, and the cultivation of a heart ready to receive the message of salvation. This season serves as a reminder to focus on the spiritual significance of Christ's birth amid the commercialization of Christmas.

Who Celebrates Advent?

Advent is primarily celebrated by various Christian denominations, including Roman CatholicChristian denominations, Anglican, Lutheran, and many others. It is observed by millions of Christians worldwide, making it one of the most universally recognized liturgical seasons. While the specific customs and practices may vary among these denominations, the central theme of anticipation and preparation remains constant.

How Is Advent Typically Celebrated?

Advent traditions differ, but some common practices are observed across denominations. These include lighting Advent candles, reading scripture, singing hymns, and engaging in acts of charity. The Advent calendar, with its daily doors and hidden surprises, is a cherished tradition, particularly for children.

The Advent Wreath: A Symbol of Light

The Advent wreath is a prominent symbol of the season. Typically, it consists of a wreath with four candles, often encircling a central, white candle. The wreath's greenery represents eternal life, while the candles symbolize the increasing light as Christmas approaches.

advent candles

The Four Candles

Each candle represents a different aspect of the Advent journey.

  • The first candle, typically purple, signifies hope.
  • The second candle, also purple, represents peace.
  • The third, pink candle symbolizes joy, and the fourth, another purple candle, stands for love.

The central white candle, known as the Christ candle, is lit on Christmas Day, signifying the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World.

What Parts of the Bible Inform Our Understanding of Advent?

Advent finds its roots in various passages throughout the Bible. The prophecies in the Old Testament, such as those in Isaiah and Micah, foretold the coming of the Messiah. The New Testament narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke detail the miraculous birth of Jesus, providing the basis for the Advent story.


Advent is more than just a countdown to Christmas. It is a sacred season of anticipation, reflection, and spiritual renewal. Its rich traditions and symbolic elements guide believers on a journey of hope, peace, joy, and love, ultimately leading to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. As we light the Advent candles and open the calendar doors, we are reminded that Advent's enduring message transcends time and culture, offering a timeless opportunity to prepare our hearts for the arrival of the Savior.

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  • 2023-11-08