Summary: We celebrate Christmas and Advent every year but do we really know why we celebrate these traditions? Most people don’t know the why behind colors, candles, wreaths and when you understand the why behind a tradition we will find that it will become truly
What’s an Advent?
Pastor Ryan Akers
IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME! Have you gone nuts yet? The world throws too much confusion on us during holidays. (presents, TV shows, decorations, Christmas trees, black shopping days) (why do people shop on days they know it will be crazy?, happy holidays or merry Christmas?) You can almost become zombie like in why you do things. Why do we decorate? Why do we give gifts? Why do we put a live tree in the middle of our living room and put stuff all over it?
We do it every year without having an understanding or knowing why we do it? “It’s what I’ve always done.” “It’s how it’s always been.” “It’s what I grew up doing.” Haven’t you ever wondered why? Maybe you haven’t. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe you like doing things that if you were to step back you might think it’s kind of weird but you do it anyway. But I like to question things. I like to know why we do things. What do they mean? Why are we so passionate about traditions that we don’t know why we do them?
When you understand the why then I think it becomes so much more alive to us. It reminds us of what happened in our history that caused us to be where we are or it reminds us of how we became who we are. The symbols of the holiday season would mean so much more to us if we knew the why behind them.
In the Christian church we celebrate the season of advent but does anyone really know what advent is? I won’t ask for a show of hands because I don’t want to embarrass anyone but I would feel confident in believing that most Christians don’t understand the history behind our traditions. We have forgotten or maybe we have never known why we practice what we do.
Advent is important in the Christian church. It’s important enough that each year many church’s set out a wreath with candles and each week share a reading and light a candle. We sit there and listen and we sing and then we move on, but if we understood the why behind the event then maybe it would become something more significant. It could become something that touches our very soul and moves us to worship.
When you grasp what these symbols represent, stop and meditate on the events and memories and scriptures that each item reminds us of then you will begin to get a firm understanding on the power behind these events and you will be moved to worship.
Simply stated, our traditions are here to put life into perspective. They are our yearly visual reminders of what we are here for on this earth. Not for presents and black shopping days and big dinners, but to love God, love people, follow Jesus. They are our reminders that there is much more to life and after life than ourselves. They are symbols that represent the fact that there is something greater out there for us than we can imagine and when we grab hold of that truth worship will happen, life will suddenly have meaning, joy will fill you up to the brim. The problems we think are problems suddenly don’t seem so big.
Advent is a powerful reminder of what was, what is and what is still to come. I want to teach you today about the power behind this tradition. So let’s get into it.
Ephesians 2:1-10 – Reason for the season. We were given the greatest present that has and could ever be given. Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. He came to this earth to die for you and me. And one day He will return again for His followers. It is a very powerful and mystical life changing experience that can only be believed through faith.
The tradition of Advent was started to be a reminder of the anticipation of God’s earlier followers and the expectation of His present followers. 2000 years ago and beyond there was incredible anticipation by God’s people, the Hebrews, that a Messiah was coming. That Messiah would be the people’s only way of salvation from sin and their only hope for eternal life with God in Heaven.
God’s followers after the death of Christ to this very day were filled with expectation that one day Jesus Christ would return for His people. Not just Hebrews but all people who believed in His name. Advent reminds us of the past miracles and the present hope for the future event.
This tradition of Advent dates back to the Roman Catholic Church before there was ever a Wesleyan, Baptist, Episcopal, Non Denominational church. After the protestant reformation where many left the Catholic church and began the protestant church the tradition of advent was kept and continued to be practiced each year.