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Celebrating Advent

Christmas is fast approaching and with that means that we also receive all of the joys of Christmas stress. It has been said many times that the purpose of Christmas has gotten lost in the entire consumer-driven hype but there is a way to get past that and prepare for the real reason for the season — advent.

According to americancatholic.org, advent “comes from the Latin word for “arrival” or “coming,” and is a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord.” The season starts four Sundays before Christmas and lasts until the baptism of Jesus Christ.

“Advent is a powerful call of the church to practice life in a deeper way in this season,” said Mary Paul, vice president for spiritual development, via email. “While there are multiple messages of increased busyness and increased consumerism … advent is this call to slow down, turn towards God anew, seeking to prepare ourselves to receive the presence of Christ in ever deeper ways.”

As a Christian university, PLNU celebrates advent by having special practices in chapels. On Dec. 6, the Re:Focus chapel was broken up into the four main themes of the advent season: hope, peace, joy and love.

Some professors like literature professor, Karl Martin, have also found ways to include celebrating Advent in their everyday life despite the hectic schedules.

“In the midst of all of my busyness, I need to try and find time just to be quiet and reflect on what it means that God sent his Son,” said Martin via email. “In my chosen profession, Advent is always going to coincide with the end of fall semester and final exams. I cannot afford to wait until I am no longer busy to acknowledge Advent; I have to find ways to acknowledge the season in the midst of my busyness.”

Because the advent season always occurs around the close of the semester, students can often get lost in finals and finishing papers. Dillon Kane, a senior literature major finds that this is the time when he recognizes his need for God the most.

“Maybe Advent is during this time of the year because that’s when we need it the most, when we are incredibly busy,” said Kane. “So that’s when we need to take a deep breath and prepare to get to work. I need to remember to be thankful for life.”

Michael Lodahl, theology professor at PLNU says that advent marks the beginning of the church’s calendar year and represents a time where people should pause from their lives and prepare to receive the coming of the Christ.

“It’s a way of marking time that…ideally, should reorient us away from secular observance of ‘Christmas’ and toward an intentional structuring of our lives, hopes and days toward God’s great gift of Jesus to renew creation,” said Lodahl via email.

Many students buy advent calendars with the chocolates inside of them and use it as the countdown to Christmas but now students can know that it is something more than just a countdown.