we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ – Titus 2:13
What is Advent?
Advent is our hope!
Advent, you probably know, is the inaugural season of the church year celebrated as the four Sundays (plus intervening days) leading up to Christmas.
This season is often marked with an Advent wreath. Four candles crown this evergreen circle, and for each week – whenever we gather prayerfully around the wreath – a new candle is lit. Therefore, as the days outside grow shorter and shorter, the light of the wreath (and the light of our hope) grows brighter and brighter.
This candlelit wreath is a powerful symbol. It reminds us that Advent is a season of bright anticipation. This season first throws us backward in time. Our hearts join with God’s people of old as we anticipate the first coming of the Messiah. We still celebrate that first coming – Christmas – with great anticipation, and as we wait, old Messianic prophecies are proclaimed. Therefore, with the ancients, we hunger for the incarnation of Jesus – God’s Son coming in flesh – and Advent helps us pray for Christ’s life to born in us anew.
As moderns, Advent helps us live in the bold confidence that God’s ancient promises have been fulfilled. God is alive and active. We can trust in his Word, even across centuries. And this confidence propels us now forward in time!
Christ himself repeatedly proclaimed that he would come again. The promise of Christ’s future return grounded the early church in great hope. Often in the face of great persecution, early Christians (and hard-pressed followers throughout the generations) knew that God would make all things whole and right and new. And looking backward at all the promises fulfilled at Christmas gave them the rich confidence that God’s saving work – including his return in glory – will come to us again.
I heard a pastor say once that as Advent dawned, he saw a sign in a local restaurant. It said, “Waiters wanted.” That’s what Advent is about. With the ancients, we anticipate the coming of Christ at Christmas. With the persecuted Christians throughout the ages … and with the sick and dying … we wait for the pains of this broken world to end and for Christ to return in glory.
That’s what Advent is all about. And that’s why Advent is our hope!
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants
to be a waiter