The Meaning Of Advent
We are about to enter the Christmas season where Christians everywhere prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christians also refer to this time of year as the Advent season. Why is it given this name, and what exactly does advent mean?
The word ‘advent’ is from the Latin word meaning “coming.” It is given to this time of year when Christians observe the coming of Jesus into this world.
Christians referred to this time of year as Advent long before they celebrated Christmas. Some historians say that in the 5th century, the weeks from mid-November through December were marked as a season of preparation for the baptism of new converts, which would take place during Epiphany in January. Epiphany was the time of the church year that celebrated God’s incarnation as well as Jesus’ baptism and His first miracles. Eventually, as Christmas became a part of the church year and was regularly celebrated on December 25th, Christians began to spend this season of the year looking forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ. Originally, that celebration didn’t start until December 25th. For some Christians, this is still the case. Today, many Christians begin the celebration at the first Sunday of Advent (the fourth Sunday before Christmas day).
That celebration was, and is today, twofold: Christians not only celebrate the first coming of Christ, but also look forward to Jesus’ second coming.
It’s exciting to spend this festive time of year contemplating the fact that, just as Jesus’ first coming was a fulfillment of prophecy, His second coming promises to be the same. He will come again just as he promised (Matthew 16:27) and just as the angels said to the apostles at Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:11). Jesus will once again invade history to fully establish God’s kingdom here on earth forever.
So, this Christmas remember to not only look forward to celebrating Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, but also look forward to His coming again in glory.