Is It Biblical: The Season of Advent

Yesterday was the beginning of the Season of Advent. Many such as Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc. partake in this season. Some non-liturgical churches also participate, although the number is few. Many may not know what exactly Advent is, including myself until recently. I was not raised in a Christian faith in which Advent was celebrated. In fact, my parents had no idea what Advent was. Interestingly, although we did not participate, my family did have a “chain” out of green and red construction paper to count down the days to Christmas, essentially an Advent calendar. 

So, what exactly is Advent?

Advent is the (usually) 4 weeks leading up to Christmas and comes from a Latin word that means “coming.” Advent celebrates the coming of Christ, both for His birth and His second coming. Catholics are typically the main group that many hear about Advent from. Catholics prepare themselves for penance before Christmas during the season of Advent. Advent is also considered to be the “beginning” of the “Christian” calendar. 

The celebration of Advent is not found in the Bible. However, neither is Christmas or Easter. The Catholic Church has added many feast and fasting days. While unsure about Catholicism, Lutheranism and Orthodoxy promote fasts. For example, Orthodox churches fast from certain foods on certain days during the season of Advent (which is extended to 40 days rather than the just the 4 weeks prior to Christmas). In regards to Lutheranism and fasting during Advent, I have not found that fasting is a requirement as in Orthodox circles but that is is recommended. According to New Advent (a Catholic encyclopedia site), Catholics are required to fast on Fridays during Advent like they do during Lent (See Should Biblical Christians Participate in Lent?). 

Should those seeking a Biblical faith participate in Advent?

I believe that celebrating Advent is up in the air. Unbiblical practices that the Roman Catholic Church teaches should not, of course, be practiced. Should Christians focus on the birth and second coming of Christ? Of course! However, December 25th is very most likely not Christ’s birthday. Secondly, Christmas for most is very far from the celebration of Christ. Rather, it’s a “rush to church, thank God for Jesus, go home to open gifts and swim in piles of wrapping paper.” 

Our focus on Christ should be all year. We should praise Yahweh year-round for sending His Son. We should praise Him year-round for allowing His Son to take upon Himself the burden of our detestable sins. We should not hold those praises for Yahweh to 2-3 days each year. It should be all year that we celebrate our Savior and in everything that we do! If we feel led by the Holy Spirit to fast, then fast and do it Biblically, not by force, requirement, or for the attention of others! So if you feel led to fast prior to Christmas, do so! But don’t think that you can’t do that in the middle of July or September, etc. 

If we truly are focusing on Christ during the Christmas season, it’s no problem to pay extra attention to the story of Christ coming to this earth to be with us in a physical way. Don’t forget though, that you can fast any time of the year and you can focus on Christ’s birth any month or any day throughout the year. The celebration of Advent is not necessarily bad but can lead to unbiblical practices such as in the Roman Catholic Church (although they’re forbidden to put images of Catholic saints on the alter so it is a break from some forms of idolatry during this time which is good. I guess it allows them to focus on Christ rather than man-made saints and idols). 

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