Can we not enjoy the festivities of Christmas straight away: the cheer, the hustle and bustle, the decorations, the music, and the rest? We can, but we’ll miss out on some things along the way. Think of Advent and Christmas as two parts of an epic film, with Advent telling the first part of the story and Christmas the rest. Without Advent, you’ll enjoy Christmas, but much of what is happening will go straight over your head or will be more confusing than comforting.
Think of the relationship between Advent and Christmas as being akin to the relationship between engagement and marriage. The period of engagement is a period of preparation before the big day, which leads to an even bigger deal: a new kind of life with new possibilities and new commitments. Advent is our engagement period before we celebrate the coming of the King. In fact, the entire Christian life on earth is a period of engagement, a holy preparation, getting us ready for that day when the King will return and the fullness of our relationship with God will be realized.
So if you’re in favor of hasty weddings, with little or no preparation, by all means jump right into Christmas. For my part, I’d rather prepare for the big day, and more importantly, for the bigger deal that follows.