Advent is an interesting word. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what it meant exactly until I looked it up. Dictionary.com has the standard coming into being, Jesus, and holiday references, but then there’s a curious one at the bottom of the list. Advent also refers to the Second Coming. So, Advent is both the birth of Jesus and the Second Coming. Advent, Christmas, isn’t about a baby. This season, as I’m coming to understand is about the spectrum of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and future return in glory. Wow, Christmas once again feels weighty and important.
But as [Joseph] considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” — Matthew 1:20–21
The Advent of the already
Advent began with the birth of Jesus in a way few of society’s poorest then and today have had to claim as their origins. Advent started with God descending to the level not just of kings and royalty, but to the level of everyman. He was born in this way that He might know the struggles and desires of every man, not being above or out of reach of anyone. He was born to know these struggles and burdens and put them to death once and for all. No, He did not make them disappear with a magic wand, but they no longer had to define our existence on this earth. He rose as a show of dominion over those struggles, our struggles. Advent was not just the birth of a man, but the birth of salvation that needed to be freed from its human cage.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33
The Advent of the yet to come
Advent culminates, with the quote above in the back of our minds, in the Second Coming of our Savior in full glory. Before He ascended the cross to be raised forever from the dead, our Savior declared His triumph, a victory in which we all share. He rose from the dead to make good on that claim, and He is patiently waiting to host the feast with us all for all eternity. Can you imagine that? What an awesome God we have, friend.
If like me you’ve had a tough year, try and think back to the real meaning for the season. It’s a time to look back, yes, but farther back than January 1. Look back to a stable two thousand years ago. Look back on salvation and the hope of joy and freedom. Then, look forward and see the awe-inspiring bliss and glorification of the Advent to come. It brings tears to my eyes as I type. Where is the drudgery and burden in this Advent? Advent is the removing of all that weighs us down. Advent is about God kneeling down to lift us up higher than our tiptoes can take us. Happy Advent, friends.