Advent: God’s Presence is Your Present!
One meaningful Christian tradition to help us experience God’s presence is called Advent – which means ‘coming’ in Latin, the coming of Christ into the world. Over the centuries, Christians have observed the four Sundays and weeks prior to Christmas to prepare for and observe the real meaning of Christmas – that Jesus came into this world as a helpless baby to grow into a man so that He could save us from our sins.
There are three ‘comings’ of Jesus that are mentioned in the Bible, and that we can contemplate during the season of Advent; first was His coming as a baby in that manger of Bethlehem; the second is when we open our heart and invite Jesus to be our Lord and Savior; and the third will take place some day soon when Jesus returns to this world as King of kings to remove sin and suffering once and for all time.
According to WhyChristmas.com, the celebration of Advent dates back at least to 567 AD when monks were commanded to fast during December in anticipation of Christmas. Today there are Christians around the world who still fast during Advent as a sign of their devotion to God. Orthodox Christians often fast from meat and dairy, and sometimes wine and fish during the Advent season.
Some Christians use Advent calendars to mark the individual days until Christmas. While there are still paper calendars available, believers can now download digital Advent calendars from the Internet. Some European countries use a wreath of fir with 24 backs or boxes hanging from it. In each box there is a little present for each day.
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