I grew up hearing the word “advent” but not giving much thought to what the word meant or whether it should be of any importance to my life. I shrugged it off as another part of an old, archaic religious system that I wanted little to do with. Thus are the thoughts of most non-Christian teenagers.
However, even as I grew older and came to know the Lord Jesus, I still secretly pondered the same questions regarding the relevancy of “The Advent Season.”
If you’re in that boat, hopefully we can help shed a little light on the topic in a devotional way.
First, the rest of this post will look at the meaning and purpose of advent itself.
Then, starting on Sunday, December 2nd, we’ll post a daily scriptural reflection on the advent season leading all the way up to Christmas morning. These won’t be full expositions of biblical texts that exhaust all that can be said about the coming of Christ. Rather, everyone on our Downline staff team will give some brief advent reflections on Christ’s birth narrative as well as some specific discipleship-focused application.
So, briefly, what’s the importance and relevance of Advent?
Our English word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming.” Adventus is the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which is used about 25 times in the New Testament. As Christians, we observe the advent, or “the coming”, of Christ in two directions: the first coming of Christ at his birth and the second coming of Christ at his return or “Second Coming” (thus, you may have heard of “First Advent” and “Second Advent”).
We look back to and commemorate the first coming of Christ at Christmas. The Advent Season begins four Sundays before Christmas and continues up through Christmas morning. Therefore, many of your churches will refer to this coming Sunday as “The first Sunday of Advent.”
Using the word “parousia/adventus”, Peter wrote: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’…”
This message of Christmas–a Savior born to die and raise three days later–is the Christian gospel. As Christians we must remember this first advent and teach it to all who will listen–our kids, neighbors, non-Christian friends, and fellow church members.
However, we also look forward to the Second Advent of Christ; that still-future return of the King of Kings who will reign forevermore. Jesus and his disciples discussed this coming (Matt 24), and Paul explained it to the believers in Corinth and Thessalonica (1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thess 2:19; 313; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:1, 8). Though doubters in the first century scoffed, as they still do today, and said “Where is He? He’s never coming back!” (2 Pet 3:4), believers should patiently and confidently expect and look for his return (James 5:7-8; 1 John 2:28).
Our hope and prayer is that our string of Downline Advent Season blog posts–every morning from December 2nd to December 25th–will help you commemorate the First Advent and anticipate the Second.
Jason Seville is Downline’s Director of Resources & the Builder. You can follow him on Twitter or keep up with him at his blog.