Tag Archives: Christmas

Crossing Explainer: What is Advent?

If you’ve spent much time around a church during the holiday season, you’re probably heard the term “Advent” several times. But beyond associating the word with the Christmas season, many of us might not have the clearest idea of its significance.

Our English word “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which is a translation of the Greek term parousia, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Western Christians have historically observed Advent during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

But what specifically are we observing? To sum it up briefly, Advent is a season of expectation. In it, we turn our attention to the coming of Christ. And to do so, we look both backward and forward.

A Stellar Advent Reminder

The Eagle Nebula's Pillars of Creation.

The Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation.

By now you’ve probably been frazzled more than once by the busy press of the holiday schedule. And so you may be at one of those points where you would appreciate something to remind you why we celebrate this season in the first place.

If so, let me make a suggestion: take a look at this rather unusual advent calendar, coming courtesy of Alan Taylor, a photo editor at The Atlantic. It may lack the traditional Christmas imagery, but it might do a whole lot of good for your sense of awe and wonder.

Point of Focus Christmas Edition: Glory in Disguise

God is often at work…even when we don’t recognize it. This Christmas edition of Point of Focus has more:

A Modest Defense of Gift Giving

You’ll get no argument from me about the fact that Christmas has become increasingly commercialized here in the Unites States. There’s certainly a danger for all of us to spend more money than we should to populate the space around our Christmas trees. And in the face of this reality, Christians rightly warn against the focus shifting away from the miraculous incarnation of Jesus to discount deals and consumer spending statistics.

Even so, I personally hope that appropriate warnings don’t give rise to a full-throated “bah humbugs” or the notion that Christmas presents somehow cut against the grain of the holiday itself. And so I offer a brief and modest defense of gift-giving.

Point of Focus: Christmas and the Big Story

How does Christmas fit into the larger story of God’s redemptive work? This month’s Point of Focus takes a look: