The season of Advent began on Sunday.
Usually, Advent begins on the Sunday closest to St. Andrew's Day. This year, St. Andrew's Day fell on Sunday.
Advent is a season of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is a traditional Christian holiday; best-remembered in Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
In my mind, Advent was the method that my (Protestant) parents used to help the family remember the real reason for Christmas.
They would light the candles of the Advent wreath at meal-time. After the meal, they would read from an Advent devotional.
The devotional that was used the most often told a thumbnail sketch of the entire story of Biblical history, from Adam to Jesus. Each piece of the story was told in short, simple form. The early stories touched on Eden, Adam & Eve, the Fall, Noah, the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob's family. They also told of certain Judges, the story of Ruth, the Kingdom of David and Solomon, the Temple, the prophets who spoke to later Kings, the Exile, and the prophets of the Exile. Finally, the stories told of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, and the preparation for Jesus' birth.
Celebration of Christmas has waxed and waned through history; people have partied heavily, attended religious ceremonies, or done large amounts of business, met with family, gave gifts, or simply avoided merry-making altogether.
Advent reminds me that Christmas is about Christ, the Anointed One.