What is Advent
December 2, 2018 | Justine Holcomb - Christianity.com
For many Christians unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be some
confusion surrounding the meaning of the Advent season. Some people may
know that the Advent season focuses on expectation and think that it serves
as an anticipation of Christ's birth in the season leading up to Christmas.
This is part of the story, but there's more to Advent.
The word "Advent" is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning
"coming," which is a translation of the Greek word parousia.
Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th
centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the
of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of
God's incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (
), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (
), and his first miracle at Cana (
). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in
penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally,
there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.