If you grew up in Churches of Christ, chances are you haven’t heard much about Advent before. But for over a thousand years Christians have observed a season called “Advent.” Now I grew up in a church that was suspect of all things Catholic (I wasn’t allowed to be friends with girls named Mary). But this is not just a Catholic idea, Christians from all the traditions have celebrated Advent, and even if it is new to you, I think that Advent might have a word to bless you.
For the upcoming Zoe conference this weekend, Jeff Childers and I sat down to talk about what Advent means and why it matters. If you are interested in digging deeper into this for your churches go to the Zoe website. Jeff made four separate videos talking about why Advent matters, or, if you can come, to the Zoe Conference this weekend to learn even more.
Here are some highlights from hearing Jeff Childers talk about Advent:
- Advent is just the Latin word for “Coming” It’s the idea that Jesus came into the world, and that he will one day soon come into the world again.
- In order to understand Advent, it helps to understand the ancient Christian Calendar. Christians have had for thousands of years certain ways of thinking about time and space, and Advent is one of the ways that we can understand the way that the whole world revolves around Jesus.
- Advent is about the longing that is in every human heart, a desire, an ache that we all share for things to be different…to be better.
At the heart of Advent is the recognition that something is missing.
And this is the difference between what Americans call Christmas and the Advent season. Every year for Christmas we wait and anticipate for Christmas morning and family gatherings and gifts. And every December 26th we tend to feel a little let down, because we realize what we should have known all along.
Something is missing that can’t be wrapped up with a bow. And Advent says that something isn’t a thing. It’s a Someone.
Jesus is coming to the world.
He does every year.