A Guide to Advent,
Christmastide & Epiphany
All Saints Anglican Church - Holland, Michigan
a summary of what we celebrate in this season
questions to ponder over the course of the season
links to suggested activities and resources for each season
What's the Difference between Advent and Christmastide?
Cooperation with the Church Year helps us better understand and experience God and His ways. Advent and Christmas are often confused because many people begin celebrating Christmas before it arrives. Just like the season of Easter is prefixed with a season of preparation (Lent), so too Advent is the season of preparation for the season of Christmas.
To celebrate Advent as a time of preparation and waiting, however, we must refocus from the cultural confusion of the season, spending our time until Christmas in sober reflection and hopeful longing. In Advent, we delve into whole scope of History, from creation and the prophets to Revelation. We remember again what God is doing with His world, what is to come, and how we can re-align our lives with His story and His Kingdom, helping us learn afresh to live ready and awake.
AFTER this season of preparation, we joyfully celebrate Christmas, and enter Christmastide, which is a 12 day feast and celebration until Epiphany (January 6.)
What is Advent?
Advent is the first season of the Church year and it helps us begin with the end in mind: to live always ready for Christ's second coming. Its purpose is to train us to live awake and ready. Advent lasts for four weeks leading up to Christmas Day on December 25. “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming or arrival.”
For us as the people of God, the season points us first to the “arrival” of God in Jesus Christ when he was born on the original Christmas Day. Secondly, it points us to the upcoming “arrival” of Jesus Christ, when he will return to fully establish his Kingdom and to judge the living and the dead.
So, the season of Advent is a season of preparation and waiting. We celebrate Christ’s first arrival as a humble servant-king and we are joyfully expectant and long for Christ’s second coming to make all things right.
Questions to Ponder throughout the season of Advent:
What do you hope for? What do you long for Christ to heal and fix
Why is the Incarnation (God becoming human) so important to us?
What might God want to teach us in this Season of waiting?
What is Christmastide?
What is Christmastide?
Christmastide is a holy and joyful season of celebrating the profound delight of the birth of our Lord & King, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. The season lasts from the evening of December 24th to January 5th (12 days of Christmas!) and culminates on January 6 with the Feast of Epiphany, on which we remember the Magi coming to worship the Christ Child. After the somber waiting through Advent, we welcome Christmastide as a time to feast, rejoice and celebrate Immanuel, “God with us.” To understand more about how Christmastide is different from Advent, read the Advent section above.
Questions to Ponder throughout the Season of Christmastide:
Why is Jesus’ coming “Joy to the World”? How do you experience this joy?
What surprised you in the Christmas story this year?
Reflect on the season of Advent together: What did you notice in the time of waiting?
Where do you need to know “God with us” in the coming year?