In Protestant churches that don’t pay much attention to the liturgical calendar (which is lot of them), Advent can get lost. Christmas is a big deal of courses but Advent is just the 3 weeks of shopping, cooking and cleaning for the Christmas season. Maybe the lighting of the Advent wreaths on Sunday morning, but that is as good as it gets.
And it’s not the church’s fault, not at all. Advent and Lent are primarily about our individual responses to Christ in the world, God entering His creation in glory. Advent and Lent are both times of waiting, of quiet. Lent has an attitude of suffering but also anticipation of the coming Resurrection. Advent has a less suffering than a waiting quality, a quality of repentance and an anticipation of the Birth. Advent is quiet. Advent is Joseph trying not to show his worry for his pregnant traveling wife; Advent is a very pregnant Mary bouncing along on a donkey; Advent is the quiet animal bearing the mother of God; Advent is us making the same journey towards the birth of the Christ in our hearts.
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.