The time of Christmas begins with Advent, which is Latin for “He’s coming.” These four Sundays before Christmas are dedicated to preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ, teaching us to hope for the right things. At this time of year, the television commercials and newspaper advertisements are trying to convince us to hope for all the wrong things: more toys (for kids and grown-ups alike), more debt, more worry, more stuff, more discontent with what we already have.
But if you wander into a Lutheran church during Advent, you will get a very different feel. Even the colors in the church (blue or violet) say it is just not Christmas yet: we are taking our time and still getting ready. Ready for what? Listen to the readings in Advent—we are waiting in hope for a King who will come and save us from our need to justify our lives with stuff.
While the world is running haphazardly, the Church is at peace, waiting in anticipation for the King of peace.
That is why the Church still has plenty of energy for a celebration of Christmas that keeps going through Epiphany (the coming of the Wise Men) to the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, His first miracles, and His glorious transfiguration.
– From Lutheranism 101 (pp. 227–28)