Why is Advent important? Advent is a time of hope. When we show our children Advent’s profound truths, they receive a higher hope than anything this world can offer.
 
Why is Advent important? Advent is a time of hope. During Advent, pastors and church leaders can have a profound effect on those who have little or no hope. When we show families and children Advent’s profound truths, families receive a higher hope than anything this world can offer.

I know a lot of people say this, but it really is true – Christmas is my favourite time of year. I have wonderful memories of family and church celebrations. And I love the music and nostalgia of the season.

As wonderful as all that can be, Christmas is far more than what our cultural celebrations have made of it. Especially for Christians. When this time of year comes, we pay attention to what is at the centre of it all.
We may enjoy the carols and decorations, but we celebrate the Advent of Jesus Christ.

The Importance of Advent
In November of 1943, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer found himself in prison without any knowledge of when or if he might be released. With war raging around him there was no telling whether he might ever see his family again.

He would have to wait to see if the circumstances of the war turned in his favour. But in the meantime, he had something greater to hold onto. Despite his imprisonment, he believed there was good reason to celebrate Christmas, decorations, and all.

Advent teaches us how to do that as we celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ born in a manger. Bonhoeffer wrote about the value of celebrating Christmas even while he was in prison with very little earthly hope. He helps us see how our immediate circumstances do not dictate whether we have good reason to wait for and hope for the next coming of Jesus Christ.

And so, it was with Bonhoeffer while in prison. God’s promises, not earthly circumstances, was the foundation of his hope. He didn’t wait for his release before he talked about celebrating Christmas, and he didn’t ask his family to wait for him to come home.

Meaning of Advent
The word, “advent”, simply means “arrival of a notable person or thing”. In the context of the Christian faith, it represents our waiting in expectation and subsequent celebration of the first coming of Christ and our anticipation of his second coming. The birth of the Messiah was promised in the Old Testament and was anticipated by God’s people for a very long time.

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to Joseph, Matthew says this happened to fulfill the promise in Isaiah, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23). A great exercise through Advent would be to collect several of these promises, talk about them together, and even memorize some of them.

Or sit down as a family, once a week leading up to Christmas, to read and have some conversation from an Advent devotion. (You can find those here: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/2021-advent-devotionals-for-families/ )
 
Every blessing for your Advent as you and your family eagerly anticipate Christmas this year!
 
In His service,
Pastor Roelof

*Taken from article by Focus on the Family (24 Nov, 2021)

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