Advent explained as preparation for Christmas

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Advent is preparation for Christmas. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and it began with the German Lutherans. The word Advent means ‘a coming’ and as such, the birthday celebration for Jesus Christ is aptly named. Readers might ask: Why do we need a reminder, Christmas is well known and nearly everyone participates in some way

Yes, Christmas is well known, but Christ and his specific teachings are not so well known. Commercialism has taken over the holidays and excessive gift-giving, carousing, and erratic spending has all but usurped the real meaning of Christmas. Advent, as it is celebrated by those who love God and who understand the need to ‘put Christ back into Christmas’ is another matter entirely. They to buy gifts, but they do so only if they can afford them while knowing the gifts they give are meant as a celebration of the Christ child, and not something one is expected to do.

This seasonal church event somewhat resembles Lent, the forty days before Easter, but is somewhat less somber; its emphasis is wider in scope in that it takes in prophecies from the Old Testament that predicted the coming of a savior. During this time the Catholic Church (and probably other Christian Churches do likewise) correlates its sermons toward these predictions of what is to come, the beginning of a whole new era of how God gets messages to his beloved children: He comes to earth as a man and shows by examples ways they are to redeem themselves from sin and how they can join him in heaven someday.

Advent is to reiterate the real meaning of Christianity

Therefore, the real purpose of Advent is to reiterate the real meaning of Christianity. Each person can set up their own method of observing this special season by scriptural reading, attending church regularly if this is possible and by meditation. This is to slow the stress of the season and to do away with any guilt that may creep in. Why guilt? Christmas advertising and the whole month of December has become one stressful and guilt-ridden month. Harried mothers and those with outside jobs may think this way: Have I time to do my Christmas shopping, who am I leaving out, what to do about that mammoth Christmas card list and the rising postage rate. They may worry that there’s not enough time and money to do all they’re supposed to do on this very important day.

Advent is not a complicated Christian season and this needs to be stressed.

God wants your undivided love and you show this by your attitude to others, how you care for them and in the way you put him first. You treat others as you want to be treated. You ask him to guide you and since he loves you more than you can ever imagine, He will show you how to manage your time and your money in ways that will really add up to dividends you can never do without his help. Living life his way, you will no longer try to buy his love! It is freely given and once this is understood Christmas no longer becomes a chore; it begins once again, as it happened when you were a child, to be a magical and exciting time.

Think about it: Your children need your love and attention more than they need those expensive toys you cannot afford. Talk to them about Christmas and its real purpose and have them join in on the joyous ways the weeks before Christmas can be celebrated. This will help them settle down and stop demanding more than you can afford, and will create a family united in the purpose of loving God the way he wants you to love him.

Create your own Christmas traditions. Of course, you do this with the cooperation of your creator, but if you prefer not to put up a Christmas tree, then don’t. Talk it over with your family. But it is fun to do so and with the right spirit decorating the Christmas tree is a delightful family activity. Make sure, however, that baby Jesus is the one that gets all the praise and adoration and sees that your gorgeous decorations are not to impress your neighbors. In other words, all your effort during this time is to advance his teachings, to show others how precious love is when directed toward the occasion it’s meant to highlight; hope and salvation for all mankind.

What children want most are fathers and mothers who love them unconditionally, the way God loves his children. What better time than this approaching season to show them by example exactly the reason for the season. With the fear of not being loved and appreciated by their parents taken care of, children will jump in and help with the chores and will find ways of helping others who are needier than themselves.

Yes, the above sound like wishful thinking, and in a way, it is. But with enough commons sense about Christmas and more understanding about the Church’s ways of making sure the right reason for Christmas is observed, wishful thinking soon turns into reality. And reality, when looked at with open eyes and a truthful heart, will show the way toward a less stressful and a more joyous holiday season.

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