What’s Advent All About?

As we continue in this season of Advent, it might be worthwhile to re-visit the reason we go through this particular season before Christmas.

In Latin, adventus means a “coming, approach, or arrival”. In our Christian context Advent is the waiting for the coming, approach, or arrival of none other than Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Trinity and Messiah who has come to redeem, forgive, and judge.

But wait — that is not all — there are two Advents. The first Advent was the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. The second Advent is yet to come. On some day in the future, we will see the Son of Man arriving (adventus) in glory (Mk. 14:62) to judge the world and make all things new. Each arrival — each Advent — gives us salvation in its own way. Salvation is the great hope we have as Christians but these Advents also give us great awe of the Creator who speaks creation into being while redeeming and remaking it by His will.

If you’re like me, this particular Advent finds you deeply concerned about the state of our society. While it used to be true that we shared tremendous overlap with our neighbors in general, it is increasingly less so. In a way, we can be thankful because this disconcerting feeling is the norm in most of the rest of the world. As Christianity has receded from the shores of the West, common language and experience has withered. We have left a plurality of voices embroiled in deep misunderstanding, caricature, straw men, and virtue signaling at the expense of relative cohesion.

In our Advent collect (a prayer we say together during worship), we say the following: “Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life…” This is from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 13:12).

Sometimes it takes darkness, confusion, and an inability to control one’s surroundings to cause one to look outside of oneself for aid, help, and hope. When we get to that point, we are finally seeing things as they are. For many, to see things as they are leads to an absence of hope. Not for us. Not for Christians who grasp the meaning of Advent. We have been redeemed, forgiven, and loved in our unloveliness. We have also been promised that Jesus will return to remake this world into its original intention and to wipe every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:4). So cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Your redemption is at hand.