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By Rev. Katey Schwind Williams

Advent and Lent are two of the most special times of the Christian year. They are seasons of waiting, seasons of preparation, seasons of hope, and seasons of reflection. Because of this, many churches will choose themes to direct their collective focus and set their intentions. 

These are some of the themes developed by Rev. Katey Schwind Williams for the community at Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, ID.

Image by James Coleman

Lent is the period of forty days (excluding Sundays) that precede Easter Sunday. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Holy Week. Christians have historically used this time to focus on repentance: making ourselves right with God as we prepare to face first the cross and then the empty tomb.

Lent is often a somber season, with good reason - it ends with the death of our Lord and Savior. But even as we acknowledge our own sin and the painful reality of death, we anticipate the joy and triumph of the resurrection.

Contrary to popular belief, Advent isn't synonymous with "The Twelve Days of Christmas," nor does it usually begin on December 1st. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve. This means that sometimes, the fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve will be on the same day!

Advent has a similar theme of preparation to Lent, but with less focus on our own shortcomings and more on God's extravagant love for humankind. After all, it's not just any deity who would be willing to get down into the messiness of being a human with us!

Image by Max Beck
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