By Steve Manskar

Wesleyan leadership christ the king 155x300
Christ Pantocrator from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai. Public domain

"The First Sunday of Advent is regarded in the Western Church as the beginning of the liturgical year. But Advent is first of all about the end of time. Because the term itself means 'coming' or 'arrival,' and because it precedes Christmas, many have misunderstood Advent to be exclusively a time to get ready to celebrate the coming of a child at Bethlehem. In fact, the primary focus of Advent is on what is popularly called 'the second coming.' Thus Advent concerns the future of the Risen One, who will judge wickedness and prevail over every evil. Advent is the celebration of the promise that christ will bring an end to all that is contrary to the ways of God; the resurrection of jesus is the fist sign of this destruction of the powers of death, the inauguration and anticipation of what is yet to come in fullness. "

-- Laurence Hull Stookey in Calendar: Christ's Time for the Church

Here are a a couple of excellent reflections on the true meaning of Advent:

Taylor Burton-Edward at United Methodist Worship writes about the season he calls "Admastime"

Dan Dick writes about how the church tends to accommodate the culture and"dumb down" Advent and Christmas in a post titled "Once More, With Feeling."

First Sunday of 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

(from The Book of Common Prayer)