WHAT IS ADVENT ABOUT ANYWAY?
Advent starts Sunday, but what really is Advent? In the Church Calendar, Advent begins the new year. It's the 40 days, not counting Sundays, the leads up to Christmas. The time after Christmas is called Christmastide. If we were actually following long-standing church tradition, we wouldn't sing a single Christmas song in the church until Christmas Eve, and then would sing them all through Christmastide which starts Christmas Eve and lasts 12 days (ending January 5th).
On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a Milking...
Anyway. Advent is about anticipation and hope. It's about looking toward something, whereas Christmas is about celebration. In our culture today, we spend so much busyness during Advent, we don't have a chance to truly look towards Christmas. We're so busy shopping, planning, and preparing; we can't even start to begin to think about what is coming...the birth of God in a human form.
This Advent, I encourage you to as many moments as you can and stop to think about why you are dong all of the shopping, planning, and preparing. Why do you attend all the parties and celebrate with everyone? What is it we hope for at Christmas?
Don't forget to have fun!