Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus in the second coming. The word Advent is a Latin word meaning ‘coming’.
For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Jesus from three perspectives: - in flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time. The Advent season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of Jesus and to be alert for his Second Coming.
Advent commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This day is sometimes called Advent Sunday. Practices associated with Advent include keeping an Advent calendar to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas; lighting an Advent wreath, praying an Advent daily devotional, which provides a specific spiritual reading for each calendar day; erecting a Christmas tree, lighting a Christingle used in Advent services; and other ways of preparing Christmas.
An equivalent of Advent in Eastern Christianity is the 40-day Nativity Fast, which is a period of abstinence and penance.