What Does Advent Mean for Me?

As Christmas is slowly approaching, I have been pondering more about this season of Advent and what it truly means. Although I have always celebrated Christmas as the birth of Jesus, our Savior, I have never taken the time to understand what Advent means, so I decided to do some research to better understand it.

The season of Advent is a time of reflection on the birth of Jesus as well as His expected return someday. It was originally meant to represent the celebration of new Christian baptisms during the feast of Epiphany in January. However, later Roman Christians tied Advent to Jesus coming (meaning the second coming), but then later in the Middle Ages it became associated with the birth of Jesus. Just like the church in the Old Testament was waiting for the Messiah (Jesus), we now, as His church await His coming once again. Advent is truly a season of hopeful expectation.

Advent is also about a fulfilled promise. It represents His promise to send a Savior and the promise of His return. The four Sundays in Advent leading up to Christmas each have a theme to include Scripture reading and prayer. They include hope (promise), preparation (waiting or prophecy), joy (peace), and love (adoration). As I began to truly wrap my mind around this beautiful season, I believe it holds so much for each individual if we will truly take the time to reflect.

The birth of Jesus and His promised return bring a time of hopeful expectation, fulfilled promises, joy, and love. Of course, this all comes with a preparation or waiting time. Waiting can be challenging, but I have found that in the waiting I can prepare. I can prepare my heart, my attitude, my mind, my space, etc. Time to reflect on who Christ is to me, reading His Word, worshipping, and seeking Him in prayer helps the waiting to be productive and prepares me for all God wants to give and be in my life.

My prayer and hope for you during this Advent season are that you grasp the amazing meaning of this time and allow the hope, love, and joy of Jesus to be yours. The Christmas season can often be painful for many people. Even in the darkest of times, the promise fulfilled of Jesus coming and then the awaited return of His coming again can bring joy and peace if we will only share with others. As you reflect for yourself on the Advent season, I encourage you to share with others, especially those who may be struggling. We have hope and sometimes clinging to hope is what helps someone make it through. Share the hope of Jesus this season and always and prepare your hearts to make room for Him.

A Prayer for Advent

This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart. Fill me with Your presence from the very start. As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given, Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven. The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever. You came as a baby born in a manger. Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree, Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me. Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth, When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.

Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night. And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.” “Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field. Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield. Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call. Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all. Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice. Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise. Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush. In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush. This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart. Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part. Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day. Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray. ~Renee Swope, “The Manger of My Heart” from Proverbs 31 Ministries

Information from “What is Advent? A Guide for the 2022 Season” by Justin Holcomb of Christianity Today

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