Nov 25, 2009
What does the word “advent” mean to you? For many of us, it’s a word associated with Christmas in some way, but we’re not quite sure how. We tend to associate it (correctly) with the weeks preceding Christmas. Unfortunately, those weeks have become even more strongly associated with busyness, shopping, trying to get things done and still somehow “get in the spirit” of Christmas, whatever that currently means. It’s small wonder that Advent has become a blurry and busy kind of season.
So, a refresher: the word advent simply means “arrival or coming”. Down through the centuries, the four weeks preceding the celebration of Christ’s birth were set aside as a period of expectant anticipation. A time of celebrating, of all things, anticipation and waiting. But this waiting and anticipation is more than simply remembering the past; that for many centuries, the people of God waited expectantly for God to send a Deliverer, a Hero, a Savior who would come and make things right. Yes, we cling to Jesus as the Answer to “the hopes and fears of all the years”. He did come in the fullness of time, born to a peasant teenager in a tiny village near Jerusalem. Yes. This is the One we celebrate and adore– God who took on flesh and bone in a world-changing event we call the Incarnation.
But there’s more to Advent. The coming we celebrate and contemplate is more than just Christ’s birth. There remains a Second Advent before us. We are the people who live between comings, during a time in history when we can look back on Christ’s first arrival as a foundation for hope for His second. On His second arrival, Jesus will come to rule the world for all to see, permanently extending His reign, destroying death forever and enacting His righteous judgment over all creation. One day soon, Jesus will make all things new!
And so we enter into a season of Advent- a time of deliberate anticipation and expectancy. This is our opportunity to make space in our hearts and our lives for the King. We make space for Him to reign over us and in us. This season of Advent, let us remember our purpose during this unique time- to watch, to wait, and to prepare room for our King.