noun [in sing. ]
the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event: the advent of television.
• (Advent) the first season of the church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
• (Advent) Christian Theology the coming or second coming of Christ. ~ Oxford American Dictionary
He is coming.
Christians know Christ already came. The events surrounding His Birth, Death and Resurrection are central to His unique good news. Advent is a time of expectant waiting before the Christmas celebration. Christmas is a memorial of sorts: a remembrance of God’s goodness to fallen people like us. So it is that on the churchly calendar Christmas and the season of Advent leading up to it is almost a kind of reenactment, a memorial if you will. In the days of old Israel piled up stones; we use Advent. Remembering is a goodly, sacred thing. We would do well to never ascribe the world “mere” to a thing God deems important.
Advent makes a bigger deal out of Christmas. The Incarnation is worth making a big deal about. Christmas is the high holiday the Christian Church uses to celebrate the historical truth that God took on flesh, came to earth and got his hands dirty and crucified in order to pay for our sins. Advent is the pump up time before this celebrated day of remembrance.
Here are five reasons to love Advent.
5. Advent helps us Anticipate Christ’s Return
Prior to Christ’s birth the faithful waited for Christ’s Incarnational Birth just as the faithful now wait for Christ’s return in power to claim His literal, political, earthly Kingdom.
Anticipation is Good
If a parent merely gives presents on the high holiday they won’t torture their kids nearly enough, and what fun is that? Anticipation is needed for Christmas, and that is the function Advent performs. So it is that we wrap presents with elaborate paper and leave them under a tree (that oddly enough finds itself inside a human dwelling) for weeks. This practice allows kids to go nutty wondering what is inside the boxes. It’s anticipation. This is what Advent does for Christians. We remember Christ’s first coming as we look forward to His second coming, indeed, the return of the King. Just as the world lay in darkness before Christ’s birth, the world now lays in a sort of dusk before the bursting forth of the New Dawn of The Day of The Lord. We can relate to those who were waiting for Christ’s first coming because we are those who are waiting for Christ’s second coming. Unfortunately we don’t have a massive holiday anticipating the Lord’s return as we do for the Lord’s Incarnation (Christmas) and His Resurrection from the dead (Easter).
We all feel the need for His Return as we watch the news, and see life from the vantage of our own eyes. Indeed, we feel it in our very own bones.
In Romans 8:22 – 23 Paul writes thus,
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
For what do we eagerly await? Adoption as sons and the redemption of our bodies: beautiful realities we take comfort in the here now but which will not fully be realized until our Lord Jesus returns to planet earth.
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Eager anticipation of His coming in power unites us with the saints of old whom eagerly awaited his coming in power whom instead saw the miracle of His coming in meekness.
4. Advent Prevents Us From Taking The “Light Of The World” For Granted.
After all, as the song goes, “Long lay the world in sin and error pinning.”
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say , Repent : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
We are reminded that when light came into the world, the world rather much more loved darkness instead (John 3:18-20), as it was then, so it is today.
3. Advent Helps Us To Appreciate God’s Perfect Timing
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
We cling white knuckled onto this merry-go-round of hurry up and wait, but God’s timing is perfect. God has His sovereign plan, and it is intimately planned in detail with epochs, ages, and yes, your life.
2. Advent Reminds Us That God Actually Did Move Heaven And Earth To Be With Us.
In a literal sense God moved the celestial to guide the wise men to Joseph and Mary’s home (Matthew 2).
But there is a bigger picture here. While the bards of this age may sing sweet nothings into the ears of the lonely about moving heaven and earth to be with them, God actually did. God moved Heaven to earth to be with people like us, to die for people like us.
What is more is that the Son shall return to us again. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).
Advent is, after all, Eschatological.
1 Timothy 3:16
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1. Advent Is The Prologue To The Good News.
Indeed, Our Lord’s Advent is good news.
The movie Star Wars gets prologues right. Bold yellow scrolling script set against a dark starry backdrop. The iconic music crescendos and ,
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
This never gets old for the Star Wars faithful.
The Christian Church has several prologues to choose from as well. John 1 is the most famous, but Hebrews 1 is poetic as well.
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
In the Churchly calendar of the Christian Church the season of Advent is our prologue to the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ.
It never gets old.