Advent and Christmas

The Birth of JesusDuring Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning.

Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.

The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning  “coming” or “visit," begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. 

Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both Christian tradition and on the Church calendar, the Christmas season lasts for the twelve days from December 25–January 6. As Taylor Burton-Edwards notes, the Christmas Season "begins with the birth of Jesus and gives us two full weeks to encounter the extraordinary love, threats, dangers and opportunities God's Incarnation [in the birth of Jesus] set off then and still sets off today."

God entered our world, not as a conqueror but an infant, demonstrating the depth of God's love — and a radical vision of peace and love — for all creation. 

Advent marks the beginning of the church year. It begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends Christmas Eve. If Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, Advent will last four full weeks. If Christmas Day falls on any other day of the week, Advent will last less than four weeks. If Christmas falls on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, all of Advent will be in December. If Christmas falls on any other day of the week, Advent will begin in November.