For many centuries church tradition has set aside the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day as the "Advent Season".
A time to prepare for the second coming of Christ, by dwelling on the events that surrounded His first coming. According to scripture, God is continually coming to His people, to refresh them by His presence. As part of his second recorded sermon, Peter exhorts the people "Now repent of your sins and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets." (Acts 3:19-21) Because of the teaching in church circles about an "any moment" return of Jesus, to rapture the church to heaven before the "great tribulation", that's the first thing they think of when God manifests His presence. According to Peter, His presence is meant to refresh us, for what is to come in the days ahead of us. Jesus must remain in heaven "until" the "restoration of all things" that the Lord promised through the prophets. Only the Father knows when the church has cleansed itself from "everything that can defile our body and spirit" (2 Cor 7:1). Jesus is coming back to earth for a bride who has made herself ready for her groom, Jesus Christ! The church is portrayed as the "new Jerusalem" in the book of Revelation (Rev 21:2, 9-10), which is the way God sees His redeemed people!
So this time of Advent every year, is a time for us to "cleanse" ourselves of anything that could defile us, and cause a separation between us and our Savior.
As we wait upon God, He will show us what things we need to repent of, and ask forgiveness for. This is what will bring the presence of God to our lives, and the time of refreshment that Peter spoke about! Once we get beyond the idea of an any moment rapture, and realize what God is up to, our lives will never be the same. Everyone who has studied church history will realize the church has never been ready to be raptured. Actually the church today has been so influenced by the world system, that it's difficult to tell the difference between church members and non-Christians, in their behavior and life style! What will it take to bring the church to the place of sanctification, and holiness before God? Perhaps only a time of intense persecution will do the job. Many parts of the world are already going through this type of persecution, and history proves that the church grows in number, and in quality, in these times! We in North America, know very little about real persecution, except what we read about he church in other lands. Let's use this Advent Season to prepare ourselves for the future!