Did the Christmas season take you by surprise this year like it did my family? Right after Thanksgiving we’re bombarded with ads for shopping deals. Christmas decorations in stores remind us that Christmas is coming soon!
As we wait for Christmas Day to arrive, let’s take some time to reflect on the season of Advent. In the church year, this is more than a “countdown to Christmas”. It is a time of reflection on Jesus’ birth and anticipating His second coming. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.”
What Is Advent?
“Adventus” is a very important term in the New Testament. It is used to refer to the second coming of Christ, and was also a word used in biblical times to describe the arrival of royalty. In such instances, the leaders of the city would be preparing for such a guest and go outside the city gates to meet the royal leader and escort him or her back into the city as an honored guest.This is an interesting way to think of Advent. Advent is not simply passing time waiting for Christmas, but rather preparing to greet our King. This season of Advent is a time for both looking back to Jesus’ first coming and looking forward to His second coming in glory.
The other emotion associated with Advent is waiting with expectation. Specifically, watching and waiting and in preparation for the return of Christ. This return fulfills all God’s promises to His people and to set right what has gone so wrong in a world marred by sin. The Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” demonstrates this feeling. It’s a paraphrase of parts of a liturgy dating back to at least the Middle Ages. Each verse invokes biblical titles for Christ—Emmanuel, Root of Jesse, Day Spring, etc.—and then rehearses why His people yearn for His presence among them.Immanuel – God with us.
We rejoice in the coming of the Christ child over 2,000 years ago revealing God’s plan of salvation. We look forward to His triumphant return, living and reigning with Him for all eternity. In the end of the book of Revelation Jesus promises, “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20 NASB). May we be like John in our response, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Advent and Christmas Services
We’d love to have you join us for our Advent evening services and Christmas Eve worship this year! Our Wednesday evening Advent services are at 6:45 pm on Wednesday December 4, 11 and 18th. Our Christmas Eve Service will take place at 4 pm.