From the Latin, Adventus…
We heard a great sermon in church this morning right after the lighting of the Advent candle at the start of the service. Unless I am mistaken, most people will recognize that the name of this post has to do with with the subject of Advent, a time of the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas when we celebrate the impending arrival of the birth of Jesus – God in human form. Just to be sure, it is important to reiterate that Jesus was fully God and fully man – a living breathing baby born in Bethlehem in the most austere of circumstances.
The Oxford dictionary defines Advent as “the coming arrival of a notable person or thing.” It comes from the Latin word, Adventus, which means ‘arrival’ through its root from the word advenire made up of ad – ‘to’ and venire – ‘come’. So, Advent isn’t merely a time on the calendar, but it is a time of year that we are to celebrate the coming of somebody important.
Most of us don’t really realize what Advent is. It’s one of those terms that we use because we have used it all of our lives. We celebrate during the month of December with Advent calendars – you know, those calendars that you open one door a day leading up to Christmas day. And, of course, we have the Advent wreaths at our churches – and that includes the lighting of a candle each week during the time of Advent leading to the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent and we celebrate “joy.” We have already had the first Sunday, celebrating “hope” and the second Sunday symbolizing “faith.” Next Sunday, the lighting of the fourth candle will symbolize “peace.”
So with all this in mind, what are we waiting for – who is going to arrive? The Messiah – Jesus. He is also known as Immanuel – God with us. And that is exactly what happened on that night in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago – God came to live among us. As believers, God will never leave us. Once we profess our believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, our gift of eternal life begins and God is with us through all eternity.
But that journey started ages ago. The prophet Isaiah, in the Old Testament, predicted that a Savior would be born. And the New Testament Gospels reiterate the words of Isaiah and bring us the beautiful Christmas story that we know so well from Luke. Once mankind experienced the Fall in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned, God had another plan to get us back into relationship with Him.
That’s were Jesus comes in – and it starts with God taking on human form and giving us a glimpse of what it is that God wants us to emulate. We are to love one another as Jesus loves us – and as God the Father loves His Son, Jesus.
Our verse for tonight is the verse that Isaiah the prophet shared thousands of years ago – prophesying the birth of the Messiah. Isaiah tells us, and the rest of the world, in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” The Gospel of Matthew also mentions the words of Isaiah. Matthew tells us, in Matthew 1:23, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
My encouragement this evening is that we have God’s assurance, through Isaiah, that the Messiah is coming to be with us. That coming arrival is worth celebrating, the season of Advent. My prayer is that in the midst of all the Christmas rush we will take some time to be still and contemplate how the world changed with the arrival of the King. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…