What is advent?

It often seems like Christmas begins the second we put away all the turkey leftovers on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday descends upon us, and most stores have had Christmas decorations out for nearly a month by now. It’s so tempting to jump straight to all the joy and excitement of Christmas Day and to try to maintain that celebratory thrill for the entire month of December. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

But it isn’t Christmas quite yet. On November 29th, Christians enter the season known as Advent. The word comes from the Latin adventus, which simply means “arrival.” Advent is the coming, the arrival, of the presence of God Himself— God with us. Starting in the 5th century, followers of Jesus from a wide variety of church traditions around the world have set aside the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a meaningful season of celebration and anticipation.


And that's what we'll be doing during these four weeks.

Christmas eve

Advent begins November 29th and ends on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Our Advent season will conclude with a Christmas Eve service that our whole church can participate in online. We will be handing out Christmas Eve bundles with communion and other elements to enhance your experience at home. You will be able to watch online through out website, Vimeo, or Facebook.

CELEBRATION & Anticipation

In celebration, we rehearse the deep expectations and fervent prayers of the faithful saints of Israel who ached for the coming of their Messiah to rescue them from sin and death. Humanity looked to the faithfulness of the Lord, and he answered. God arrived and walked among us. Advent is a way to experience their joy as we put their ancient, Spirit-inspired words on our lips and in our minds as a family of faith.


So, Jesus’ Advent has already happened, but his Advent will happen again. Jesus is coming back. At his first coming, the Kingdom of God invaded our present with the Son of God’s incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Our spiritual enemies were disarmed. However, this world is not what it will be as we long for the complete and total reign of King Jesus. We live in the “already but not yet” of his Kingdom. At Advent, we utter “kingdom come” prayers of our own, waiting expectantly and faithfully for Jesus’ return. In that way, this is a season of both celebration and anticipation.


Christ has come and Christ will come again!

Ways to participate in advent

Advent is a season also marked by new devotional rhythms and a fresh emphasis on caring for the poor (traditionally known as almsgiving). Devotionals will be emailed each Sunday to the entire congregation, and will also be available on the Sunnybrook Facebook page. Traditional Advent wreath kits will be available in the church lobby for use in your homes. Information on various charities and other opportunities to express generosity will also be available in the lobby. If you would like additional information, please contact the church office.

Advent Resources

Try out some new practices, disciplines, and resources during Advent this year!

  • Family Activities

    • Make a Jesse Tree together (also check out variation a or variation b)
    • Make an Advent calendar together
    • Discuss the daily devotionals together at the dinner table
    • Use the Christmas cards your family receives as prayer reminders
    • Assemble a family Advent wreath (kits available in the Sunnybrook lobby)
    • Have mealtime discussions about how hard it can be to wait, even on God!
  • Advent Practices

    • Consider fasting from sweets until Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
    • Take walks in the dark to connect with the theme of waiting in darkness for the light.
    • Decorate your home slowly and incrementally throughout the season.
    • Listen to music with minor chords, at slow paces, with themes of longing or anticipation.
    • Find new ways to be generous during this season.
  • Read & Watch

  • Music for advent

    • An Advent playlist on Spotify
    • An Advent playlist on Apple Music
    • An Advent playlist on YouTube
    • The Light Came Down, album by Josh Garrels
    • The Advent of Christmas, album by Matt Maher
    • Behold the Lamb of God, album by Andrew Peterson
    • Smile in the Mystery, album by John Mark McMillan
    • A Seed, A Sunrise: Advent to Christmas Songs, album by Caroline Cobb
    • Advent, Vol. 1, album by The Brilliance
    • The Longest Night: Christmas Songs of Lament & Longing, album by Russ Hitt
    • Advent to Christmas, album by Page CXVI
    • Advent (Deluxe), album by Young Oceans
    • Waiting Songs, album by Rain for Roots (great for children)