What is Advent?

People who specialize in a belief or practice tend to develop “code language.” The specialized vocabulary of medical professionals and the law are two common examples, but the same is true for construction workers, baseball players and those who cook. Likewise, Christianity has developed specialized words which serve as shortcuts for those who understand their meaning- grace, liturgy, eschatology, justification, Trinity, redemption… words which are helpful, but aren’t a normal part of our everyday vocabulary.

Advent is one of those fancy church words. What is it? I am thankful for this faithful and clear definition by Susan Briehl author of Come, Lord Jesus: Devotions for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany. – Lisa <><

Advent means “to come.” During this season we prepare for three advents. The first is the coming of Jesus two thousand years ago. We remember the faithful people who waited and watched for God’s promised Messiah: Abraham and Sarah, moses, Miriam, and Aaron, David the king, Isaiah the prophet, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Simeon, Anna, and many more. They lived by faith, holding fast to God’s promise.

The second advent is the coming of Christ among us now. Every day is an advent because Jesus is Emmanuel, God-always-with-us. Christ comes to us in the waters of baptism, with the bread and wine of his holy meal, through the word of God, and in the community of faith. Christ surprises us by coming at the times, in the places, and through the people we least expect, startling us with grace and bringing us new life.

The third and final advent is yet to come. No one knows the day or the hour. Christ will come at the end of time, gathering God’s beloved people into one embrace and mending with mercy what sin has torn apart. As with the coming of Christmas Day, we cannot make it happen sooner because we are eager, nor can we delay it because we are not ready. However, we can be awake and alert, standing on tiptoe, wide-eyed and watchful, ready to receive him whenever he comes.

4 thoughts on “What is Advent?

  1. Pingback: Advent Wreath Readings: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love | Turning the Word

  2. Pingback: Advent Wreath Prayers: Let in the Light | Turning the Word

  3. Pingback: Advent Door 3: Strength to Stand | Turning the Word

  4. Pingback: Advent Door Day 15: Preparing the Way | Turning the Word

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