who’s afraid of Advent?

For many years the mere mention of the word “Advent” made me nervous. I never grew up hearing this word and had no idea what it meant to have an Advent calendar or observe it. I figured it was just one more thing that I didn’t know about because even though I grew up going to church, we never talked about things like Advent, listened to Christian music (not sure I even knew it existed until high school) or prayed over meals.

So for the last few years I have been intrigued by this thing called Advent. Intrigued and intimidated. Was it something I had to do? What’s the time commitment? With all the busyness at Christmastime, did I really want one more commitment? These were questions I asked myself without really ever getting down to discovering what the season of Advent was actually all about.

So this year, while still very intimidated by the whole thing, I decided it also sounded like something that could be very beautiful and meaningful to our family. I wanted us to have a deeper connection to Christmas this year– one that involved more than just tinsel, presents and homemade fudge. So I read up on it–wow, what a concept!

Advent simply means “coming” and the season begins four Sundays before Christmas. In one sense it’s waiting with expectation for Christmas; in another it’s a reminder that He is coming again!

This year I jumped into Advent (a few days late mind you) and I’m glad I did. I don’t have a calendar or anything fancy, but we read an Advent devotional every night then make a paper ornament to stick on a cut-out tree the kids have on their door. The last thing will be the star at the top of the tree. There is glue and glitter involved, so the three-year old approves as well.

Since we have had children we have lived away from family (oh the irony!) and have never set any firm traditions because often we were traveling at Christmastime. But I hope this will be a tradition from now on–Advent season and the reminder that we are to wait expectantly and eagerly to celebrate the gift that arrived on Christmas two thousand years ago and that will be coming again in the future.