My daily-dose-of-chocolate calendar is counting down the days to Christmas

Colchester Vineyard Advent candleThe Advent season is here. Woohoo! Christmas is coming soon, and I know that because my daily-dose-of-chocolate calendar is helpfully counting down the days. But the origins and meaning of Advent is worth exploring because, unlike modern Christmases, it has a deep meaning – and it isn’t dependent on us spending money.

It is a time of preparation and expectant waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus who, his followers believe, is the loving God of creation coming to live among humans to heal, rescue and save. The word Advent means “coming”.

At ColVin, we think that developing our awareness of the real meaning of Advent is a good way of resisting the consumerist Christmas that’s foisted on us and which empties Christmas of meaning. The consumerist Christmas requires that we spend more than last year, even if we get into more debt, turning the message of Jesus on its head.

Enough! Let’s get our bearings, take a new course towards Christmas and see the difference that can make. So here are a couple of encouragements to help.

The first comes from the Bible Society’s online Advent calendar #AdventChallenge. This encourages us to do a small, practical act of kindness every day, to share goodwill and make a difference to the perception of Christmas. You can sign up here.

The second is from the 24-7 Prayer people, and it’s a daily podcast called The Selah Series. Each podcast will encourage listeners to spend just 60 seconds to listen and prepare. More info here.

Don’t already listen to podcasts? You can get a podcast app for your tablet or phone and search for 24-7 Prayer. For yer old ’puter, use iTunes (on PC or Mac). More info here.