Advent is a season of preparation that has a two fold purpose. Advent begins with Evening Prayer I of the Sunday falling on or closest to 30 November and ends before evening prayer I of Christmas. We prepare ourselves not only for the coming joy of our celebration of the birth of the Christ child; we also prepare ourselves for the Second Coming of Christ.
For Catholics, Advent is the beginning of the new liturgical year. The seasons of that year have always led me on a journey with Christ each year, and I gain so much in the consistency of the seasons and readings. We begin with Advent, awaiting the birth of Christ, then celebrate the Christmas Octave and season, Epiphany, and then soon begins Lent, in preparation for Easter. Then, after the Easter season ends with Pentecost, we have the bulk of Ordinary Time until the end of the liturgical year, and Advent again.
The readings at Mass or Protestant Worship Service reflect these times in the life of Christ. They take us through his birth, baptism, ministry, Passion, Death, and Resurrection. I find Advent and Lent especially to be times that help me prepare to meet Jesus in deeper and more profound ways.
Many Christian denominations celebrate Advent, perhaps in ways a little different from those of us who observe a liturgical calendar and cycle. But the focus, the point, is to prepare for the coming of Jesus.