Greek – παρουσια (paroo see-ah); meaning – one’s presence; coming; arrival
Latin – adventus; meaning – arrival; approach; coming
In today’s western evangelical Church, we give strong emphasis to the greatest of advents that has so far occurred in human history; namely, the incarnation of our God. No doubt of all the arrivals of brand-new babies into this world, the arrival of baby Yeshua in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago was the most important. But note that I said advents (plural). It is important for the Church to remember there are several critical advents that we should give much thought to this season. I will highlight four advents that are interrelated to one another.
- The first is the devastating advent of sin into the perfect home God created for us (Gen. 3:6-7). Ever since sin cast the first shadow over our glory, we have suffered under the curse and consequence of evil. In this season it is right for us to lament this advent, and to long for it to be removed from our lives.
- The second is the humble advent of a Savior to a people helpless to save themselves (Luke 2). This shocking act drives us to our knees in awe and wonder as we worship the One who would do such a thing for us. In this season it is right for us to adore this advent, and to contemplate the human life of our Savior.
- The third is the life-altering advent of Christ’s resurrection life for those doomed to die (John 20:11-18). Jesus’ disciples must have been racked with despair and fear while their Friend’s body lay still in a tomb those three days. But when the door of that tomb burst open, Jesus proved that He alone had the authority to give us life again. In this season it is right for us to celebrate this advent, and to live in the power of His resurrection life.
- The fourth is the still-to-come advent of the Reigning Christ into a world longing for an Eternal king (Rev. 21:1-4). That will be the day when we say good riddance to death and sin forevermore! Because Christ already took on flesh, because He already tasted death, and because He now lives in resurrection Life, we must set our eyes to the horizon. On that day He will take up His eternal throne and rule with love and justice. In this season it is right for us to long for this advent, and to shape our lives around the coming Kingdom of God.
As we look back on the former three advents, we find that they all point forward to the final, great advent. Let us long for this day as we cry out, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
Kneel in adoration at the manger, then stand and lift your eyes up to the skies.
To help you contemplate these realities better this season, Westminster’s worship team is hosting an evening of Longing & Hope: Advent Through the Arts. On Sunday night, December 11th at 6 pm we’ll use music, poetry, and fine arts to lament our suffering and the brokenness of this world, while also taking hope in the promise that Jesus is coming back to make all things new. Further, this evening will be a means to raise awareness and support for two Kingdom ministries in our city: The LifeHouse and Hope for Rock Hill.