Today, I received my first Christmas card of 2011! The arrival of the first card is an annual reminder that Christmas is, indeed, right around the corner! For many it’s a time to begin serious Christmas shopping for family, loved ones, and friends.
Black Friday super sales, the long lines of people camping out at WalMart, and Cyber Monday bargains have all come and gone. Celebrities are now all over TV and the Internet encouraging us to shop until we drop!
However, this also marks the start of Advent (from the Latin, adventus, which means coming). It is the season that many Christians expectantly wait and prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. (At least, some do!) Advent traditionally starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25th.
Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of the Messiah, as well as the waiting of Christians for His Second Coming. Depending on one’s faith tradition, Advent is observed by Advent calendars, decorations, and daily readings and teachings. In some Scandinavian countries there are even television programs that mark each day of Advent! The theme of the readings and teachings during Advent is to prepare for the Second Coming, while commemorating the First Coming of Christ.
In the Digital Age, we can observe Advent not only with in-person fellowship, but also by sharing online Advent calendars, devotionals, and links. In addition, we can fellowship online, e.g., via video chats on Google+ hang-outs; by engaging in conversations with friends on Facebook; and sharing with followers on Twitter the relevance and meaning of Advent today; as well as organizing Advent meet-ups!
For more on Advent resources check out the following:
Advent – Wikipedia
Advent 2011 Calendar – Beliefnet.com
Online Resources For The Season of Advent – The Text This Week
How are you observing Advent this year?
Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!