What are we waiting for in Advent? What are we really celebrating at Christmas?

Adventus is the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which means, “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and we watch and wait with patient expectation for Jesus to come again. 

We can all relate to the experience of having to wait for something we need or want. Together, you and I just concluded a season of patient expectation in the pastoral search process. I’m thankful for the many ways I experienced God at work in the midst of waiting. Think about how it feels to wait for a child to be born or the process of waiting for someone you love dearly, to die. Often times we don’t want to wait. Alternatively, we may be willing to wait forever, even in the midst of pain. 

Depending on circumstance and significance, the process of waiting can be painful or joy-filled or both at the same time. In the process of waiting, God desires to teach us, guide us, and transform us. Waiting can be life-changing. 

During Advent, we have the opportunity to be intentional about waiting. We can slow down. We can turn our hearts and minds to Jesus. We can study. We can meditate on God’s word. We can serve. We can put Christ first in our lives. We can pray. We can love others. Advent provides a specific period of time to reset and reorder our lives as we prepare to celebrate the most significant event in human history. 

And yet….in the midst of preparing to celebrate this miraculous event, we acknowledge that we will continue to wait and anticipate Christ’s return. We anticipate the promised justice of God’s new world. In Advent we are living between the first and second coming of the Lord. We live between memory and hope. We patiently wait alongside those who heard the prophets and waited for centuries for his arrival. We recognize the continual need for reconciliation and repair. We see the brokenness of our world through the eyes of our Savior. 

There is nothing more significant or life-changing than God entering into human history in the person of Jesus Christ. Can you begin to imagine what God desires to teach you as you wait for his arrival this Advent season? As you wait for him to come again? Let us wait. Let us rejoice. Let us sing. Let us learn as we proclaim, Christ is born! Christ has come! Christ is risen! Christ will come again! This is what we are celebrating during Advent and Christmas. Praise be to God! 

In Christ, Jim