adventThis coming Sunday we begin the season of Advent. Many people see it as preparation for Christmas, but it’s far more than this.

“Advent” means “coming” and it marks the beginning of the Church year – the Christian calendar. It consists of the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

The season of Advent may have originated in France during the second half of the Fourth Century A.D when Christians fasted for three weeks before Christmas.

Advent has been a season of preparation for Christ’s second coming. Even so, the seasonal Scripture readings focus on three comings of Christ in reversed chronological order: (1) His Second Coming at the end of time; (2) His Messianic Coming, as announced by John the Baptist, to begin His official work as Messiah; and (3) His First Coming in Bethlehem, as our newborn King.

At the heart of each of these three comings is a very important fourth coming, the coming of Christ to each person. If Christ hasn’t come to you through baptism and faith, none of His other comings will benefit you!

Unlike Lent which focuses on sorrow for sin and penance, Advent calls believers to anticipation and hope, as well as repentance.

Advent is a marvelous opportunity for personal and family spiritual growth. In addition to Sunday Advent worship, please make use of available Advent devotions. This year we are providing one prepared by the North American Lutheran Church. It can be accessed online and copies will be available at Trinity ELC.

May the Christ come to you this Advent season, strengthening you in faith and hope as we wait for Christ’s return.

– Pastor Tim