Advent Is Not Christmas. Alleluia!
If you’ve never read the musings of Matt Walsh on themattwalshblog.com, I recommend that you do. He is a family man, radio talk-show host, and he is a Christian. In one of his recent posts he made the obvious point that Christmas isn’t Advent, and Advent isn’t Christmas. So that got me thinking. And that’s why, after a long dry spell, we have another blog post on Zion’s website.
Advent is not Christmas.
According to the liturgical (or Church or Christian) calendar, the Christmas season comes AFTER the 25th of December. But we seem to think that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the Christmas Season. Retailers and advertisers tell us the shopping we do during that period of time is of the Christmas variety. The music that gets played during this period is labeled of the Christmas variety. And we are told to have a Merry Christmas as early as the day after Thanksgiving.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Christmas. The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is a monumentally significant event. God and man visibly united in the person of a little baby in a manger. God coming to the aid of his people in a physical way. The Almighty becoming like us in every way—in every weakness—only without sin. Christmas is a powerful recognition of our need for a Savior, and God’s unconditional love for you and all people.
Now, this is when you’d assume there’d be a “BUT,” however, an “AND” is more appropriate.
AND there’s also nothing wrong with Advent. Advent: that four-week-or-so season in the church year when we contemplate the comings of our Lord Jesus Christ. On the one hand, we look back to the first coming of Christ, where we see God identifying with us in our weakness and becoming like us in every way. On the other hand, we look forward to the second coming of Christ, where we see the glorification of the only human being to keep God’s holy law, atone for the sins of the world, and be seated at the right hand of the Almighty. Advent is a season of looking back and looking forward, with our eyes always on Jesus.
Celebrate Advent! It is more than Christmas’ waiting room. It is more than four candles and a wreath. Advent is more than a time to read the different versions of the Christmas story from the gospels. It is a time to remember that Christ came and that he will come again. It is a time to remember all that Christ has done for us when he came the first time and all that he will do when he comes again.
You cannot have Christmas without the first advent; Christmas has no power without the promise of a second advent.