Advent Begins Today

Advent Begins Today

Advent is for adoring Jesus.

It’s an annual season of patient waiting, hopeful expectation, soul-searching, and calendar-watching marked by many churches, Christian families, and individual followers of Jesus. There’s no biblical mandate to observe Advent. It’s an optional thing — a tradition that developed over the course of the church’s history as a time of preparation for Christmas Day. Many of us find observing Advent to be personally enjoyable and spiritually profitable.

Why Advent

The English word “Advent” is from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” The advent primarily in view each December is the first coming of Jesus two millennia ago. But Jesus’s second coming gets drawn in as well, as the popular Christmas carol “Joy to the World” makes plain:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas (today) and ends Christmas Eve. This means the earliest it begins, depending on where that Sunday falls, is November 27, and the latest it starts is December 3. Whereas Lent (the season of preparation for Easter) is 40 days, Advent ranges in length from 22 to 29 days. This year it’s 23 days.

Christians throughout the world have their different ways of celebrating Advent. Some light candles. Some sing songs. Some eat candies. Some give gifts. Some hang wreaths. Many of us do all of the above. Christians have developed many good ways of extending the celebration of Jesus’s coming beyond merely the short 24 hours of December 25. The incarnation of the Son of God, “for us and for our salvation,” as the old creed says it, is too big a thing to appreciate in just one day. Indeed, it’s something the Christian will celebrate for all eternity.

Good News of Great Joy

This Advent, the team here at Desiring God pulled together a devotional reading for each day of the season from John Piper’s sermons and articles from previous Decembers. The daily meditations appear in our free ebook Good News of Great Joy, as well as in our free devotional app Solid Joys (available in iTunes and Google Play). The readings begin today, and we’d love to have you join us.

Our prayer is that this little devotional ebook might help you keep Jesus as the center and greatest treasure of your Advent season. The candles and candies have their place, but we want to make sure that in all the December rush and hubbub we adore Jesus above all.

So, “O Come, Let Us Adore Him” is perhaps the theme song of these Advent readings. These meditations are all about adoring Christ, the Lord. In spots, you’ll hear strands of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,” and in others, “Hark! The Heralds Angels Sing.” And, of course, we’ll have a cameo from the magi.

But the figure at the center is Jesus — the baby born in Bethlehem, the God-man in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, destined for Calvary, sent by his Father to die and rise again for his people.

May God be pleased to deepen and sweeten your adoring of Jesus this Advent.

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.