(Note: Anglican Pastor has published a book about Advent! Check out A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home, by Ashley Wallace!)


What is Advent?

Advent is the first season of the Church year. It lasts for four weeks leading up to Christmas Day on December 25:

(To learn more about what the Church year is and how it’s different than the civil calendar, click here.)

Why is it called “Advent”?

“Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming or arrival.”

Used by the Church, the word refers to:

  1. The “arrival” of Jesus Christ when he was born on the original Christmas Day
  2. The upcoming “arrival” of Jesus Christ when, as Christians believe, he will return to judge the living and the dead.

So, the season of Advent is a season of preparation and waiting:

  1. first for Christ’s second coming to judge the living and the dead (2 Pet 3:11-14; 1 John 3:2-3), but also
  2. to celebrate Christ’s first arrival at Christmas.

Just as the Israelites awaited a Messiah to fulfill God’s promises from Genesis 3:15 to Jeremiah 31:31-34 and beyond, so Christians await the return of Jesus the Messiah to make all things new (Revelation 21).

A helpful video about Advent, from “BustedHalo.”

What are some common practices during Advent?

Check out our Advent book, A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home, by Ashley Wallace, for more ideas about how to observe Advent with friends and family!


Speaking of the Daily Office, here’s a special edition of our Daily Office Booklet for Advent 2019!

I’ve taken Volume 3 of our Daily Office Booklet 2019 and made one that just covers the month of December for Advent!

For more information about our Daily Office Booklet, including how to print/assemble it, go here.


What’s the difference between Advent music and Christmas music?

Perhaps the classic piece of Advent music is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” because it reflects Advent’s emphasis on waiting and expectation.

Christmas music, on the other hand, emphasizes the joyful celebration of Christ’s arrival at the Incarnation. “Joy to the World” comes to mind, but if you read the lyrics to that song closely, you’ll notice that they’re actually about the second coming of Jesus, not his birth.

So, maybe think of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” as a paradigmatic Christmas song.

Songs for Advent

Here are some of the better-known songs from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship’s helpful list of Songs for Advent:

  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Charles Wesley
  • Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes – Philip Doddridge
  • Imagine – Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence – Gerard Moultrie
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling – Charles Wesley
  • My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout – Rory Cooney
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – ancient hymn
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten – Aurelius Clemens Prudentius
  • Savior of the Nations, Come – Ambrose, 4th century; Martin Luther
  • Soon and Very Soon – Andraé Crouch

(Check out the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship’s list of Songs for Christmas as well.)

I also highly recommend the following music.

http://open.spotify.com/playlist/6eySVfzgF7Tjb2d0ugXFBf

Advent Collects and Collect Reflections

In the Anglican tradition, each week of the Church year has a special prayer, called a “collect,” used during Sunday worship and then for the following week.

Here are the collects for Advent. If you click on the titles, it will take you to the Anglican Pastor Collect Reflection for that week—a short blog post to help you reflect on the collect!

The First Sunday in Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Second Sunday of Advent

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent

O Lord Jesus Christ, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise make ready your way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient toward the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world, we may be found a people acceptable in your sight; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent; Annunciation

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and as we are sorely hindered by our sins from running the race that is set before us, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Other Advent posts at Anglican Pastor

If you’d like to learn more about Advent, check out the following posts right here at Anglican Pastor:

(Click here to view all of our posts that have been tagged as “Advent.”)


Other Advent resources

Read our Advent book, A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home, by Ashley Wallace!

Check out the following external resources to learn more about Advent and how to celebrate it:


Did I leave anything out?

If there’s something I didn’t mention that you think should be in this introduction/guide to Advent, please let me know in the comments below!