What is the season of Advent?
Advent, the beginning of the church year, is a time of anticipation. Christians anticipate the celebration of Christmas at this time of year. Advent does remind us of the anticipation of the coming of the Messiah experienced by God’s people prior to Jesus’ coming to save us. But the main focus of Advent is preparing us for the presence of Christ in our lives, our worship, and in His final return at the last day. The focus of Advent is the call of John the Baptist to prepare for the coming of Lord by repentance and faith.
What does the season of Advent mean to our worship?
Advent is a time of repentance. Christians prepare for worship by confession and absolution. We prepare for any celebration of Christ by repentance, living in the assurance of forgiveness and the sure promises of God. We prepare for His return by being assured that Jesus has done everything necessary for us to meet Him. He died for our sins. He rose to assure us of life from the dead. He took our sins and dressed us in His righteousness. This prepares us to greet Him when He comes again.
What does the Bible say about Advent?
Luke 1 provides the best look at the announcement of the coming of the promised Messiah. John the Baptist’s ministry is best described in Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, and John 1. Jesus discusses His return in Matthew 24 and 25.
Advent wreaths and some Advent calendars are a good way to provide visual reminders of the season of preparation. Emphasize that this is not primarily a preparation for Christmas, but an anticipation of His coming. These hymns from Lutheran Service Book should help you prepare: 331, 333, 334, 346, 349, and 357.
Have your family think about someone special coming. Remind them how excited everyone gets when they know the guests are about to arrive. Also remind them about what family members do to prepare for company coming. Explain that the season of Advent is a time when we anticipate Jesus’ return to take us to heaven. We prepare by asking Jesus to forgive us, remembering that He came the first time to take our sins away.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art, dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart. Amen. (LSB 338 v1)