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During the 4th century, Advent was a three-week preparation for Baptism at Epiphany (January 6). Later it evolved into a period of preparation for the coming of Christ as judge. Today it is a season of hope and joy, anticipating the fulfillment of the rule of God in Christ's coming in the future. At Messiah Lutheran Church, there is a sense of expectation and joyful longing as we await Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and God's promised reign.