The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means ‘Coming’. Many Christians around the world observe Advent by recognising the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a chance to prepare themselves for this special event on the Christian calendar. This year, Tuesday 27th November marks the first of four candles that will be lit, sometimes in the form of a wreath, to signal in the coming of this special event. Each week a new candle is lit until the four weeks mark the lighting of all.
But what is it we are celebrating? What is it we are waiting for?
Of course, it is the Birth of the Baby Jesus.
But it’s more . . . It’s the coming of the Messiah. What does this mean to us?
Matthew 2:6 quotes the Old Testament (OT) book of Micah, “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler, Who will shepherd My people Israel.”
The OT was written to create an anticipation of, and pave the way, for the coming of Christ. Throughout the entire OT are predictions and foregleams of His coming. By the time we come to the end of the OT, the entire story of Christ has been pre-written in language and symbol, which, taken as a whole, cannot refer to any other person in history.
As woman (Eve) fell in the garden of Eden, so through a woman (Mary) would mankind be redeemed (Gen 3:15) Abel’s offering, the call of Abraham, the institution of the Passover, many of David’s psalms, a great deal of the prophets, and much, much more all through the OT lead us to that glorious night in Bethlehem well over 2,000 years ago when God became flesh and dwelt among us, in the persona of His Son Jesus, the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.
Isaiah 7:13,14 says, “O house of David . . . a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (which means ‘God with us’)
Isaiah 9: 1,2,6,7 says, “In Galilee . . . the people have seen a great light . . . For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, from henceforth even forever.”
Jeremiah 23:5,6 says, “The days come, says the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, a King, this is His Name whereby He shall be called, ‘The Lord Our Righteousness’.”
Early in the OT it is stated that the Hebrew nation was being founded for the blessing of all nations (Gen 12:3, 18:18, 22:18) Then we begin to see One Person through whom this will be accomplished. First He is called Shiloh, then He is called Star, then a Prophet like Moses, then He is spoken of over and over as King, Prince, Anointed One, First Born, Wonderful, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. It was foretold He would be born of a virgin, at Bethlehem, and spend some time in Egypt, and be raised in Nazareth.
It is an incredibly important event we celebrate each year, but sadly buried under a heap of tinsel, carousing and over-spending, that leaves many buried under a pile of debt and disillusionment. This is not what God intended when He sent His only Son from the glorious beauty of paradise, to earth. For us. Just for us.
It’s an unbelievably amazing thing He came to earth to do. For us.
Let’s celebrate His Birth with the respect He deserves, and not over-indulge in any way, but from this week until the date in December that we’ve chosen to celebrate this momentous event in history, be aware of and anticipate His coming with joyful hearts, and generosity for those less fortunate.
Not everybody does the advent candles. But they represent the Light of the world, Jesus.
John 14:6 says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no-one comes to the Father, but through Me.”