We might miss Advent completely in the rush of parties and shopping and good things like giving to loved ones or to those in need, celebrating with our families and neighbors, singing carols, and sending cards. But it can be a time carved out to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child, the celebration of the anniversary of his birth as a baby and his incarnation as a man among us. It is a time to acknowledge that he is with us still in the gift of the spirit. It is a time to look for his coming again. It is a time of watching and waiting and making room for what is to come.
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming." It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches' equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year.
Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah and to be alert for his Second Coming.
Advent Conspiracy was started in 2006 by five pastors who decided to make Christmas a revolutionary event by encouraging their faith communities to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. The response was overwhelming and the Conspiracy was born. The vision is a collaboration between Rick McKinley of Imago Dei Community in Portland; Greg Holder from The Crossing in St. Louis; and Chris Seay of Ecclesia in Houston. Turn the Advent season upside down with Advent Conspiracy.
Check out Advent resources from Liturgy maintained by the Rev. Bosco Peters.
Advent Resources from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Daily Advent Devotionals
Amazing and comprehensive gathering of resources from many traditions from the Text This Week
Advent Resources from the Greek Orthodox tradition
Advent from a strictly Protestant perspective
Roman Catholic Resources including daily prayers for the season