the chocolate calendar? the chocolate calendar?

November 20, 2018

Does your knowledge of Advent start and end with those cardboard calendars that have perforated windows and chocolate? If so, you might want to brush up on some traditions of Christmas past.

The English word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” The season of Advent is a time when Christians are supposed to think about the coming of Christ, whose birth we celebrate at the end of December. Of course, Advent is in no way prescribed by the Bible as a necessary celebration or remembrance, it is simply observed as a season of the church or liturgical year. The season begins four Sundays before Christmas day and on certain years it can even start in November. Even so, in my many journeys through different churches over time, I have yet to experience Advent as anything more than a few quiet moments in prayer or the beginning of a Christmas sermon series.

It’s important to point out that your salvation does not hinge on whether you remembered Christ is returning before you drove that fork into the Christmas ham. However, having a calendar that revolves around the promises of the Bible is a great way to refocus your attention on the only thing that will truly satisfy and the only thing that is truly lasting.

Now, there are not many traditions that surround the season of Advent except for a wreath and a few candles. Some churches will use the five candles as a buildup for Christmas, with one of four smaller candles lit each Sunday until they light the final, biggest candle December 25. I have seen this practice done before and I have to admit, until now I thought it was a tangible embodiment for the birth of Christ. I even remember the thought, “Do they use candles because in the dark they sort of look like shining stars?” A great example of a fallen human in need of a perfect Savior!

With this in mind, we want to challenge our readers to find more creative and consistent ways of leaning into the promises of God this holiday season, specifically the promise that Christ will return. Ask yourself: What would that mean for your life if He were to come today? What would it mean for the people closest to you, or those you attend church with? Being honest with yourself, does the thought of the second coming fill you with excitement, or something else?

For me, I’m going to ask myself the same question each night before bed: How would I have lived differently today if I knew Christ were coming this very night? I hope that by reflecting on what I could have done differently, I might change my future self in preparation for Him.

God is aware that in our act of remembering we become more conscious of Him. And, as the book of Matthew reminds us, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:37-39).


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