In case you hadn’t noticed already, I am a big advocate of Advent. At the time when the days are at their shortest and most wearisome Advents reminds us that we have so much to look forward to. As the apostle Peter puts it so memorably we have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (1 Pet 1:4) and we need a season of the year when we focus on that inheritance. Not to detach ourselves from the realities of daily living, but in order to live more faithfully for Christ year by year, because Advent shows us what really matters.
Of course more widely in society this notion of Advent is nowadays little understood or even considered. An Advent calendar has become by and large an excuse to count down to Christmas, and it can convey any kind of secular theme. Already in August the shops are stocking up with Christmas goods, and it’s not unusual now for carol singers to be seen out in November.
To celebrate Advent in its truest sense, then, reminds us that as Christians we are called to be counter-cultural. Christmas is for us not just a lovely story we can choose to remember, alongside all the other festive offerings on TV, but the guarantee and the assurance of a better future where Jesus will one day reign in all His glory, and it won’t just be shepherds and wise men who will bow before Him.