If you search the internet for “advent”, you will find there is no shortage of information on the topic. Our goal isn’t to rehearse something you may already know or add to the extensive information already available. Our hope, rather, is that you’ll grab your favorite comfort beverage (mine is coffee), find your favorite spot on the couch (or at the beach), and engage with us in a chat regarding Advent and what it means.
Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. We get the word advent from two latin words: ad (which means “to”) and venire (which means “come”), literally meaning “to come”.
The First Advent
The significance of Advent for followers of Christ begins in the context of Jewish history. A little over two-thousand years ago, Someone very notable came: His name is Jesus. The Jews had been expecting the arrival of a King and Savior, as prophesied for several hundreds of years. The time during that first Advent was a very difficult and dark time for the people of God. They had lost their independence. God had been silent for 400 years. Since the time of the prophet Malachi, God had not uttered a single prophecy or word of any kind. I imagine at that time, there was mounting anticipation. Perhaps their prayers were increasingly passionate for salvation and their new King to be revealed to free them from Roman authority.
One thing we know for sure is that the first Advent was unpredictable and lacking the grandeur associated with notoriety. Yes, there was an announcement and loud celebration, but only a very small number of shepherds heard and saw it. The King of all kings didn’t show up on a fancy jet or riding on the back of a unicorn. There was no pomp and circumstance, not even a cozy cradle in a castle. Many may have missed His arrival, but He did come. Those few that knew He came were overwhelmingly blessed to have been eyewitnesses to the Advent of God’s miracle rescue for all mankind.
The Second Advent
The word advent (“to come”) carries with it so much anticipation and expectation!
Do you know about (or perhaps remember) the days before Netflix, Uber Eats, and cell phones? We used to have to wait for food (10 minutes at a burger joint!). Now, we can get someone to rapidly deliver just about any food we want right to our front door. If I wanted to perform a bank transaction, I had to wait for the bank to open. Now, I can take a picture of a check with my cell phone and deposit it immediately without leaving my house.
With my favorite television shows, I had to wait six days in between episodes and a whole summer between seasons! So much anticipation was created! Today in our society, there is an expectation of the least delay of time. No one wants to wait for anything.
However, for those of us that are followers of Christ, there is one more arrival we are anxiously awaiting. When Jesus left the earth, He promised He would return. It was like He was giving us a “To Be Continued…”! Ever since then His people, The Church, have been full of expectation for when the most notable person in all of history will return. We wait along with all of creation for the King of kings and Lord of lords to come one last time and take us home to live in heaven with Him!
During the season of advent (the weeks beginning four Sundays before Christmas), we celebrate the first advent of Jesus’ arrival, but we also celebrate the anticipation of what’s not yet happened. We celebrate the expected return of the Savior of the World who will defeat sin once and for all. We wait with expectant longing for the end of all suffering and our home-going to see the glory of Almighty God filling every space with unimaginable beauty, life, and light.
As you sip on your favorite brew, perhaps curled up on the couch in a quiet house, take just a few minutes to imagine what that day will be like. Imagine the day when Christ the King returns. What do you see? How do you think you’ll feel? I don’t know about you but I feel like a kid at Christmas – I can’t wait until it’s time to open presents!