December’s here, and that means the season of Advent is upon us. 

Now, if you’re anything like me, then this announcement might bring on two thoughts.

  1. The year has flown by too quickly (how is it December already?!)
  2. I’m still not sure what Advent is.

Not much I can do about point one right now, but I might be able to help us all out on the second one with all the homework I did.

I previously wrote about Lent, but Advent was another season I was unfamiliar with.

The word “advent” only brought to mind vague memories of seeing Christmas banners while growing up. I just thought it had something to do with the Nativity

But as I’ve said earlier, I’ve done my research and am happy to report that I’ve walked away blessed and edified. 


What actually happens in Advent? The usual assumptions about the season are derived from the word “advent”, which means a beginning or a coming – someone’s arrival. So that’s where we get the idea that it’s a season about anticipating Jesus’ birth.

Around the world, believers commemorate Jesus’ birth through a variety of ways like observing a calendar, lighting symbolic candles, making wreathes and reading scripture based on the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love. 

I had wrongly assumed in observances like these, that Advent only focused on history – the past events leading up to the birth of Jesus, when the Word became flesh.

But what I also realised was that Advent also looks towards Jesus’ second coming. This is how Justin Holcomb, a theology professor, describes it:

“Advent symbolises the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom.

“The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah.”

So Advent is being in a beautiful in-between.

It is looking back on that glorious moment in human history when the Word became flesh, and it is looking ahead to the second coming of Jesus when He comes to judge the living and the dead, and to establish His kingdom.

The most meaningful gifts take time. 

Now that I’ve established that Advent is associated with two kinds of coming, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s also a third kind of coming – coming and going.

As I noted at the start of this article, 2020 has absolutely blown by without me really realising it. The same can happen for Christmas if we’re not careful or intentional.

I’m sure we’ve all had years where it has simply come and gone. In such times, the reason for the season is lost – the entire month devolves into simple festivities of far less meaning than we could have had. 

So I think Advent is wonderfully countercultural in that way. There can be such beauty in liturgical traditions when they bring people together and point them clearly in the right way.

Maybe we could use some of that.

With what remains of the year – and us similarly caught in a world that’s between the coronavirus’ worst and the prospect of a coming year less grim – it’s a good time to look to God.

Isn’t being intentional to celebrate Jesus something truly worthwhile this Christmas? 


After all, Advent marks the times leading to the moment God gave the world the greatest gift – His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Think of all the years Israel spent in exile. Think of all the time God spent watching over humanity, sovereignly ordaining people and events throughout history, so that it would all lead up to that moment in the manger and those hours on the cross. 

When we pause to reflect on it, we realise that the most meaningful gifts take time. 

As such, a great way to think about Advent is as a period of consecration.

It is us giving these special four weeks to God as an offering, being filled up with love for Him – by Him – in recognition of what God did for us in Bethlehem all those years ago, and what He will also do, in just a short while. 

Don’t forget that Advent can also be a gift to yourself! We know how a long and hard year it’s been. Some of us may be worn out, burnt out, far from God.

As we look back on one coming and anticipate a second, we have an opportunity to avail ourselves of God’s gift of renewed desire for Him.

So let’s ask ourselves: How do we want this Christmas to be?

In these coming weeks, may we give ourselves to God. And come Christmas, may we all be made ready and prepared as gifts – offerings to be poured out unto our God. 

  1. Is the second coming of Jesus on your mind?
  2. How can you be more intentional about celebrating Jesus this season?
  3. What does it mean to consecrate yourself and present yourself as an offering to God?