This article was originally published in The Worshiper (Fall 04).
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as son. (Galatians 4:4-5, NKJV)
What in the world is “Advent”? Growing up I associated Advent with calendars that had little windows you opened each day prior to Christmas. Those cardboard calendars were simply a modern manifestation of an ancient tradition that began in France in the fifth century when Christians would observe a time of fasting and prayer 43 days prior to the feast of Christmas. Along the way, this period of “official” waiting for the coming (adventus) of the Christ child was shortened to four weeks by St. Nicholas I (I am not making this up) in the ninth century. May we see that this season of anticipation mirrors humanity’s own longing for The Promise. Let us celebrate Advent because…
- Even though we know Jesus Christ has come, use these days prior to Christmas to prayerfully contemplate what His advent into your own life has meant. His arrival made salvation possible: without Bethlehem there never would’ve been a Calvary!
- Advent is a time of taking spiritual inventory. What a wonderful opportunity to examine ourselves in the glow of His Season – to take stock and confess those things that lead us away from the manger. Praise Him for bringing forgiveness and healing to our world.
- Advent is a time to prepare your gift for Jesus – the gift of yourself! Even as we await His coming…He longs for ours. You are why He came. He does not seek gold, frankincense, or myrrh; He seeks you. You are more precious to Him than any other thing. Let Him know that is how you feel about Him as well.
- His First Advent points us to His Second Advent. He will come again the same way He left (Luke 21:25-28; Acts 1:11) “in the clouds.” What a wonderful season Advent is to tell others about the Christ Child! His gift of eternal salvation extends to everyone, as does His promise to take us all home to live with Him in heaven. Spread the news that He has come and will come again!
David M. Edwards is author of Advent: Season of Promise and Harvest: Season of Provision (Broadman & Holman Publishers) and a singer/songwriter. For more information, go to DavidMEdwards.com.