Adventus

Adventus is a Latin word meaning arrival or approach (Lexico.com). In Roman times, the population knew what this word meant and the ceremony attached to it. An Adventus was held when a conquering General or Emperor was welcomed into a city during a progress or the end of a military campaign (definitions.net).

Hence, the anglicized word Advent. Advent has been celebrated by the Christian church for about sixteen centuries. It was celebrated in Gaul and Spain during the fourth and fifth centuries as a time when those wishing to be baptized spent forty days in fasting, penance, and prayer. It was not linked to Christmas but to The Feast of the Magi. By the sixth century, Christians celebrating Advent were looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming. Later in the Middle Ages, Advent was linked to Christmas and to the first coming of Jesus (Christianity.com).

In the twenty-first century, many denominational churches still celebrate Advent. It occurs over four Sundays where both Christ’s first and second comings are celebrated. Most people (including myself for many years) do not really know that Advent is not just about remembering Christ’s first coming as a baby in Bethlehem. It is also about looking forward to the time when Christ shall come as a conquering King to the Earth. 

Why do I even mention this? Because most of us at Christmas think of Jesus as a baby laying in a manger. There is nothing wrong with this but we must remember a few things about Jesus:

He is no longer laying in a manger in Bethlehem.

He is no longer walking around Israel teaching and performing miracles.

He is no longer on a cross at Calvary being crucified as an atonement for our sins.

He is no longer just risen out of a tomb after being there for three days.

He is no longer ascending into Heaven.

However, He is:

Sitting at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the time when He will return to Earth, His Adventus, and judge the nations. He will reign on the Earth for a thousand years and then judge the living and the dead…some will spend eternity with Him and others will spend it apart from Him in Hell.

Are we ready for the next arrival of Jesus? We can rest assured that it will surely come just as the first one did; according to God’s timetable and in fulfillment of prophecy. Let us prepare our hearts for it, so that we will not be ashamed at His Adventus!

Advent – Preparing for the Coming of Christ

Having been raised in a traditional church, I thought I was familiar with Advent. I thought it was all about Christ’s first coming as a baby in Bethlehem. During the Advent Season I would read the Christmas story and think about Jesus’ first coming in its historical context.

advent advent wreath burn burnt

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Imagine my surprise,when a few years ago, I learned that is not all that Advent is about. I learned that the first two Sundays of Advent anticipate Christ’s Second Coming. That got me to thinking about the Season…what is the real history of Advent?

I would like to quote from an article entitled “What Is Advent?” by Justin Holcomb on Christianity.com.:

“The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus,  meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus.

By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.”

In summary, the early Church understood that we need to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming. New believers would prepare for baptism and celebrate Christ’s coming into their hearts. By the 6th century, Christians would use the season to prepare their hearts for Christ’s Second Coming. From medieval times forward, Christians would prepare their hearts during Advent anticipating His Second Coming while also remembering his first coming as a babe in Bethlehem.

For me, the bottom line is, “Am I preparing my heart for Christ’s coming?” As the Advent season begins this Sunday, am I thinking about the possibility that Christ could return at any moment? Am I prepared to meet Him or am I distracted by the busyness of the season? Those are the real questions I need to ask myself. I hope you will take some time during this season of Advent to ask yourself those questions also. 

Have a Blessed Advent!