Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means coming. During the four weeks before Christmas we look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as king and judge at the end of time and to our Christmas celebration of his coming as our Saviour 2,000 years ago.
During the first weeks of Advent (up to December 16) we reflect on Christ as our coming king and our judge; we wait in joyful hope for his return in glory to complete his work on earth.
Beginning on December 17, we join with the prophets and the people of God who looked forward to the birth of the Messiah. We express our longing for God’s mercy, and grow more aware of our need for this saving help.
A Season of Renewal
During Advent, we express our great longing for God. Who are we without God? Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15.5). We prepare ourselves and wait for God’s coming. We open our hearts to Jesus in prayer, and show by our actions each day that we are his. We try to love other people more, and to be more patient and understanding. We pray for others, especially those who are close to us, and ask God to help them to grow in love.
During Advent we are invited to change our lives and our hearts. God wants us to prepare for his coming by doing good. Each day we should look at our faults and weaknesses and ask our Father to help us to follow Jesus more closely.
A Season of Hope
Advent brings hope, because Jesus is always ready to help us to grow. He has conquered sin and selfishness by his obedient death and by his rising; he can help us to change our lives for the better. If we want to grow closer to him, and pray and work to improve, Jesus will help us to change for him.
A Season of Joy
We are followers of Jesus, who is the king of glory. We are happy because he is our king, and we are his brothers and sisters. We rejoice because God is our dear Father and because the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. We are happy because Jesus wants to give us his peace and let us share his joy now and in heaven forever.
Advent is not a time of penance like Lent. It is a season of renewal, when God invites us to let Jesus come into our hearts and make us more like him. It is a season of quiet expectation; we live it in the expectation of the fullness of joy to come.