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What Is Advent?

Advent is a four-week season in the Church calendar dedicated to anticipating the arrival, or "advent," of Jesus of Nazareth, the long-awaitedMessiah and King. Christians from many backgrounds celebrate this time with reflections on hope, peace, love, and joy. And while their practices may look different, all focus on the hope-filled arrival of Jesus.

When Is Advent?

In 2023, Advent is observed from December 3 to December 24. It takes place on the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas Day.

What Does Advent Mean?

The word advent means "arrival."

Who Celebrates Advent?

Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, and other Christian traditions.

What Does Advent Mean?

Advent means "arrival" and signifies the start of an event or the arrival of a person. In Christian communities around the world, Advent refers to a four-week season of remembering and celebrating the arrival of Jesus on Earth. It’s a time to reflect on the unexpected nature of Jesus’ humble birth and join in the anticipation of when he will come again to reunite Heaven and Earth once and for all.

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Why Is Advent Important?

Advent can be a simple and fun tradition of counting down to Christmas. But for others—particularly those who believe Jesus to be the incarnation of God and the long-awaitedMessiah—Advent is a shared experience of meditation and prayer that celebrates the arrival of Jesus.

Who Celebrates Advent?

People from Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and other Christian traditions celebrate Advent, though the specific practices may vary from community to community. Additionally, some people celebrate Advent without the focus on Jesus' arrival, seeing the tradition as a fun way to countdown to Christmas.

The Big Idea

For Christians around the world, Advent refers to the four weeks leading up to Christmas, where communities remember and celebrate the arrival of Jesus and join together in the hope of his ultimate return.

How Is Advent Celebrated?

In some traditions, followers of Jesus devote the first two weeks of Advent to remembering Jesus' promise to return and renewHeaven and Earth. Then, during the last two weeks of Advent, these communities focus on the birth of Jesus.

In other traditions, people reflect on the concepts of hope, peace, love, and joy—one for each week leading up to Christmas. People may light Advent candles, prepare unique wreaths, hold special church services, or read specific Scriptures each day to reflect on the arrival of Jesus on Earth.

Advent in the Bible

From the first story to the last, the Bible is full of narratives, poetry, prophecy, biographies, and personal letters that inform our understanding of Advent. When the Bible talks about humans waiting for the promised anointed King who would deliver them, it can help us connect with their anticipation (Amos 9:11-13). When we read about people choosing joy and hope in God’s promises despite their circumstances, the meaning of Advent can take on a deeper meaning (Isa. 9:6-7, 11:1-5; Luke 1:26-2:20). And when the New Testament talks about a second advent, the return of Jesus, we can join in that time of waiting, shared by Christians throughout history (Rev. 21:1-5).

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Advent Video Series

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Reading Plan

BibleProject designed Advent Reflections to inspire individuals, small groups, and families to celebrate the arrival of Jesus. This four-week plan incorporates animated videos, short summaries, and reflective questions to help you explore the biblical meaning of hope, peace, love, and joy.