Churches all across the world will enter the Advent season on November 27, 2016. This is an important time of reflection on the incarnation of God, who came to live among us as Jesus of Nazareth. A man of flesh and blood, like us, but also Immanuel, God with us.
Advent is a time of waiting – waiting for God to do something about the sin and shame in the world; waiting for God to invade this broken world with His presence, love, hope and joy.
It is difficult to know when this period of preparation for Christmas first began. We know it was certainly in existence from about 480 – and we know about the order given by the Council of Tours of 567 that monks were to fast every day in the month of December until Christmas.
The word “advent” is Latin and it means “coming” or “arrival.” It marks the season of waiting for the Saviour to arrive – a time on the church calendar that everyone has come to know simply as Advent. This is, of course, because the Roman Catholic Church used Latin in their liturgy. But “advent” is a translation of the Greek word parousia and that has a very technical meaning in the Greek New Testament. The main use is the physical presence of a person, which, when that person is not already present, refers to the prospect of the physical arrival of that person, especially the visit of a royal or official personage and sometimes, as an extension of this usage, a formal "occasion.”
Many of us are familiar with the term Parousia in context of the second coming of Jesus Christ. We should not lose sight of that, but as we celebrate Advent this year we should reflect upon the first as well as the second coming of our Lord Jesus. The importance of the first coming, as a baby, cannot be overestimated. But, it is not complete without His second coming, as a king.
The Advent-season is helpful to us, since it causes us to:
1) focus our attention on the first coming of Christ; and
2) eagerly anticipate the second coming of Christ; and
3) appreciate that we are doing this with believers all around the world, representing the Body of Christ.
As we look around our broken world, full of sin and shame, we long for the return of the king. We long for Him to bring healing and for the glory of the Lord to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. So, we cry out with the Spirit, “Come Lord Jesus, come!”
Posted by Brian Thompson