It is true that the Christmas season with its decorations, gift-giving, and gatherings for friends and family has evolved in our culture and has roots in the story of Christ’s birth. But what the Church has observed as Advent for centuries has a different objective and journey. The concept of Advent began in the church as a season of spiritual introspection and formation – a time to turn away from sin and the world and draw closer to God. It is counter-cultural and definitely a corrective to the rampant consumerism that we complain has hijacked Christmas. Advent has a specific story – from reflection on Christ’s second coming, John the Baptist’s call to repentance and renewal, to, finally, the promise of Messiah and fulfillment at Christ’s birth. Click here for a more in-depth explanation from Pastor Bob's blog.