What is the meaning of Advent?
At the end of November we enter the season of Advent. This starts with the celebration of Advent Sunday on 30th November. But what is advent all about?
For most people today, I guess Advent is just the countdown to Christmas. It even gives us an excuse to start each day with a little chocolate from our advent calendar.
For Christians, Advent is about the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. As part of that, we look forward to Christmas when we will celebrate Jesus’ birth over 2,000 years ago. We remember how the Jewish people then were longing for the expected Messiah – the one who would come as the Saviour of his people – and how the birth of Jesus fulfilled those ancient prophecies and expectations. As part of that, advent calendars developed as a countdown to the great celebration. As the father of an engaged daughter, I am aware that we now countdown to other great celebrations such as weddings not only in days but hours, minutes and seconds!
But Advent is much more than looking forward to Christmas. We also believe that Jesus will come again. At Advent we look forward to his glorious return. Jesus is alive today and dwells with His people by his Spirit. But he has promised to return at the end of the age. At his second coming, Jesus will not come as a baby but as the reigning king, the righteous judge. It is difficult for us to imagine what that will be like. But it is not so difficult for us to get ready for it – we simply need to put our trust in Jesus, accepting that he died for our sins and rose from the dead.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
So as Advent approaches, it is a good time to consider not only how we are doing in getting ready for Christmas but also how we are doing in getting ready for Jesus’ return