Advent is four weeks long and marks the beginning of the Christian year. The first Sunday of Advent is always four Sundays before Christmas, which means it could be as early as 27 November.
The word ‘advent’ literally means ‘coming’ and it is a time of reflection on the coming of Christ into the world at his birth. It is also a time of preparation when Christians think about the second coming of Christ and what they need to do to be ready for his return. For Christians, Advent is not just a time of excitement - there is also a sense of seriousness and self-examination.
During Advent, particular readings from the Bible are used at some church services. From the Old Testament there are readings about the promised Messiah. From the New Testament there are readings about the time leading up to the birth of Jesus. There may also be special focus on John the Baptist, who was important in preparing the way for the coming of Jesus.