What Is Advent?

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. — John 1:9

There are certain signals that reveal Christmas is on its way. Coffee shops add peppermint mochas to their seasonal menus. We start making lists of gifts to buy, and retailers set up elaborate displays to entice us to buy even more. With so much clamoring for our attention, sometimes it’s a challenge to remember the true reason for the season of Advent.

The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” It’s a season of preparation, not for extra expenses or family gatherings, but to remember the Christ child who came to live among us to secure our redemption.

It is a time to pause and cherish God’s most precious gift to us.

Advent is also the anticipation of Christ’s return at the Second Coming. When we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we’re honoring the sacrifice He made for us too. Gathering around the manger is only part of it. We also need to journey to the foot of the cross.

So while you might still get swept up in all the hurried activity of the Christmas season, be intentional this year to take time during Advent to prepare your heart. Remember that God laid aside His glory to become human because of His great love for you, and He will also return one day to restore glory to His people. There are few truths in this world that can be more wonderful, more exciting than this.

What kinds of things mark the start of the Christmas season for you?

Is celebrating Advent part of your traditions? If not, how can you make it a special part this year?

Do you tend to feel harried and overwhelmed this time of year? If so, how can you carve out some time for reflection to prepare your heart?

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A Season of Hope

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 NLT

Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, but even without a calendar it’s easy to know when it starts because of the Advent wreath Many churches have a large, beautiful wreath near the front of the altar, and when the season of Advent begins, the first candle in the Advent wreath is lit.

The first Advent candle, known as the Prophet’s Candle, represents hope. Throughout the Old Testament many prophets, especially Isaiah, waited in hope for the Messiah they knew would come. None of them knew when God’s promise of a Savior would be fulfilled, but they kept trusting in God, because He is always faithful.

We all have things we’re hoping for. Some of them we can write on our Christmas list, and maybe they’ll appear under the tree. Other things we bring to God in prayer. But sometimes it’s hard to stay hopeful when the thing you’re waiting for isn’t happening.

As we begin this season of Advent, let’s embrace this time of hope. No matter what our circumstances look like, we know — just like the prophets knew — that God is faithful and good. He loves us, and He wants to draw us closer to Him. We can let go of our worry, stress, and envy, because our hope is in Him.

What are you hoping for this holiday season?

Can you think of a time when something you’d been hoping for finally happened?

What do you do when you feel your hope start to waver?

Excerpted with permission from The Advent Project copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Advent begins tomorrow. Embrace this time of hope. The true light came to earth to bring His hope to us! Light a candle and remember hope! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

For over eighty years, Zondervan has partnered with authors to deliver transformational, educational and vocational resources that renew minds, enrich lives, and change the world.

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