Today, I was excited to receive my first Christmas card of the 2011 season! As always, the arrival of that first card is a reminder that Christmas, indeed, is right around the corner! And for many, that means it's time to begin some serious Christmas shopping for family, loved ones, and friends.
Black Friday's super sales, the winding lines of bargain hunters camped out at Best Buy, and Cyber Monday's deep discounts have all come and gone. Celebrities on TV and the Internet compete to see who can get you to spend the most money on holiday gifts!
However, this time of year also marks the start of Advent (from the Latin term adventus, which means coming). Advent is truly a Season of Great Expectations! Traditionally, beginning the fourth Sunday before December 25th, it is the time when many Christians expectantly await and prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas! It reminds us of the real reason for the season!
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 with Advent calendars, decorations, and daily readings and teachings. In some Scandanavian countries there are even Advent television programs that count down each day until Christmas! 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 in which we live, 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+ hangouts; by engaging in conversations with friends on Facebook; sharing with followers on Twitter the relevance and meaning of Advent today; and by organizing Advent meet-ups!
For more on Advent check out the following resources:
Online Resources For The Season Of Advent - The Text This Week
Advent 2011 Calendar - Beliefnet.com
How are you observing Advent this year?
Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas!!
Hi! I'm Kenneth Lillard, author, ordained minister, and motivational speaker. This blog is an expression of some of my thoughts and opinions. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll share some of your comments while you're here. Be Blessed!