This week begins the season of Advent: a season of hope and expectation that Christians have observed to anticipate the celebration of Christmas for many centuries. There are five candles in the center of the Advent wreath. It’s fitting that the first candle to be lit in the Advent wreath is the candle of Hope. Psalm 130:5 says, “I will wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in His Word.”
The name Advent comes from a Latin word meaning “coming” or arrival”. Over the next four weeks, we’ll remember Jesus’ first coming. But we’ll also look forward to His second coming. As followers of Christ, we are a people living between two advents – the coming of Jesus as a baby to Bethlehem, and His triumphant return as the King of kings at the close of history.
We remember that our Savior emptied Himself to become one of us, stepping out of eternity to take on flesh. He was born among us to live the righteous life we cannot live. Then He died, the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, so that we could be spared the punishment our sin justly deserves. But the grave could not hold Him, and in His resurrection from the dead, we have the promise of eternal life.
We anticipate Christ’s promised return, when He will one day come again, bringing with Him the fullness of His kingdom. On that day, every tear will be wiped away; they will be no more pain, grief, or death. All things will be made new, and the dwelling place of God will be with His people.
At Christmas, we don’t just remember that Jesus came; we celebrate why He came. And as we do, we worship the living Savior who has promised to come again. This is the heart of Advent. Over the next four weeks, plan to come to church with this sense of celebration, anticipation, and expectation!