The Importance of Advent

The Importance of Advent, and How it is Different from Lent.

Advent is a time for preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ.  The weeks leading up the our Lord’s birth allow us to reflect on our lives as Christians and shows us the possibilities of life.

Advent is a season of hope and joy.  It is a time to evaluate our lives and add to them.  We strive to add grace, light, patience, and steadfastness.  Our preparations focus on festivity.  It is a time of anticipation of the joy of Christ’s birth.  Advent is a liturgical season. It marks the start of the new liturgical year.

Lent stresses penance and sorrow.  Lent is a time to reflect on what we need to remove from our lives, particularly sin.  Lent is an ascetical season (i.e., fasting, almsgiving, prayer, acts of charity).  Our preparations focus on repentance, examining our conscience to rid ourselves of bad habits that lead to sinfulness.  

Advent is our time to prepare for celebration.  We celebrate Christ taking on human form.  Christ came to show us a different way to live.  He taught us to live with love, mercy, and forgiveness.  He modeled His principles through service to others.  Jesus formed the Church around the concept of a people held together by love. In His community we discover unlimited possibilities and meaning. Alone we can do nothing. Together, abiding in Christ Jesus, we find real meaning in our lives.

Advent reminds us that waiting is purposeful if we do so actively, rather than passively. We should not hasten Christmas, merely because the world does in its secular way. We must be patient and allow God to work on us by patiently waiting for his will to unfold.

When Christ left this earth, He did not abandon us. He remains with us in his Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, the Scriptures and each other. He lives in community with us and keeps His vision of life before us.

This Advent season, let us make a concerted effort to work toward a purposeful preparation for the coming of our Savior.  

An Advent Prayer

Loving God, as we enter the Advent season fill our hearts with hope — a hope that lifts us up even in difficult times, a hope based in the joy of your coming to us as a child in Bethlehem, a hope that assures us that in the end all will be well, and a hope that strengthens us as you continually break into our daily lives. Help us, especially, to see that in Unbound every time a child or elder is sponsored, and every time great things happen even in these difficult times, your Kingdom is among us. Amen.
  • from the Unbound Prayer Tam