What is Advent?
During the early centuries of the church, a number of traditions sprung up to teach Christians about the life of Christ and to create opportunities to practice spiritual disciplines. Together, these traditions form the church calendar, which begins its year with Advent: a season of expectation and waiting that stretches from the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” That is why we often speak of Christ’s advent, i.e., his coming. The season of Advent is one in which Christians traditionally set aside time to remember our need for a savior and to focus on God’s gracious promise to provide one.
Advent is defined by the arrival of something or someone notable, but it also assumes a journey. When we think of Christmas and the incarnation of Jesus, we appropriately gravitate to His journey from Heaven to us. However, during Advent it is also appropriate for us to think of other biblical characters, as well as our own journey to God.
Calvary's Advent guide follows key individuals through a portion of their biblical narrative, observing their obedience to God in bringing about His ultimate plan of redemption. Each week also asks you to consider how their stories impact your own. Together we will see how God redeems pain, blesses obedience, and provides for us as we wait on Him - and ultimately how He fulfills all His promises in Jesus.
You can print the Advent Guide cards at home or pick up a copy of the Guide in the back of the Sanctuary, beginning November 18. Please note that this is the same guide made available in 2017.
This year we will also be using our Reflect email to consider how to look at our messages in the Isaiah series in light of Advent. We send out this reflection email each Tuesday morning to help you engage with today’s message and apply it to your life all week long. Sign up at mycalvarygr.org (your email subscriptions are found under My Profile).
What is an Advent Wreath?
An Advent wreath is commonly used, both in church settings and in private homes. It is a simple wreath with four candles arranged around the perimeter, with a central white candle to commemorate Christ’s birth. Each week of Advent, an additional candle is lit until Christmas Eve, when all of the candles are lit, including the central Christ candle.
At Calvary, we follow the tradition of focusing on the virtues of hope, peace, joy and love for the four weeks of Advent. Usually the candles for hope, peace and love are purple (a symbol of the royalty of the awaited Christ) and the one for joy is pink or Introduction rose, but if you wish to create your own Advent wreath at home, you can use less traditional colors as needed.