Finding the meaning of Advent {He comes}…

In my Pentecostal upbringing, I do not remember a focus on or much mention of Advent.

Not that it was completely absent from seasonal messages or Sunday school lessons. It is a term I sometimes heard during Christmas, but I don’t recall Advent being highlighted.

Where other streams of the Church traditionally place strong emphasis on the Church calendar, sacraments, liturgical readings, etc., the Pentecostal faith has, over the past century, been known to place more importance on experience. Or, at least, this has been my observation.

Has Advent been a part of your faith tradition?

A shift is occurring among Pentecostals regarding Advent. Some churches have begun to include a special focus in their December services. They may encourage families to bring Advent activities into their seasonal celebrations at home.

In “The Selfless Way of Christ” {a book that wrecked me, by the way} Henri Nouwen says, “The liturgy [of the Church] is the celebration by the people of God of the Christ-event.”

What is the Christ-event?

It is the main events of Christ’s time on earth – events the Church pauses to remember, annually.

  • “It is Advent, Christ is coming;
  • It is Christmas, Christ is being born;
  • It is Lent, Christ is suffering;
  • It is Holy Week, Christ is dying;
  • It is Easter, Christ is risen;
  • It is Pentecost, Christ is sending his Spirit.” {Nouwen}¹

When I read this list – every time I read it – two things happen. First, the Spirit of God either ignites a shout of praise within me, or I want to fall down and weep.

A second thing happens when I read the list of Christ-events. I am reminded – over and again – that waiting was a significant part of the process. It still is.

What are you waiting for?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we welcomed a new baby into our clan – the beautiful Miss Ruby Jean Baker was born to my nephew and his wife. Their long period of waiting ended.

Her arrival makes my baby brother a grandpa, which just about makes my entire month year life! My sister-in-law is now known as Kitty, the “grandma” name she’s chosen for herself. It’s a time for congratulations all around.

As a mom, I remember the waiting period – those days of longing for the babe to come. As the grandmother of children adopted, I can confirm the waiting period is no less long or anxious. But in each of these situations, wait we must.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land…Jeremiah 33.14-15

What is the meaning of Advent? I'm on a search to find it. Will you join me? This rich tradition of the Church is to wait and hope...The people of God waited long to see fulfillment of this prophecy. The righteous Branch from David’s line was not ushered in as you’d expect of nobility.

There was no fanfare or celebration announcing the arrival of the next heir to the throne.

He came by way of a commoner who, following the waiting period, gave birth in a smelly stable. Among the livestock.

The promised Prince of Peace was born minus the attendants of a royal household. He arrived without benefits afforded the son of a king – this give us a king to rule us for whom the people cried out in 1 Samuel 8.6.

The Christ-child {this righteous Branch} arrived just as God intended. It was a selfless way – in the manner only the Father could have designed and at the exact time He ordained.

It was not only to fulfill the ancient prophecy, but to bring The Story to life – that we might have forever life.

Here is the lesson of Advent.

Wait. Lament. Hope. Believe.

The annual celebration of the Christ-event of Christmas is coming. We must wait a while. It is in the waiting {and lamenting} that we find Hope.

As you go through these days of waiting in this Advent season, remember this lesson. Apply it to the circumstances of your own life, whatever the situation. He is Emmanuel, God with us even now.

Wait. Lament. Hope. Believe.

He comes…and He will come again.

Here is the lesson of Advent. Wait. Lament. Hope. Believe. #HeComes Click To Tweet

¹The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life. By Henri Nouwen.

Photos by David Beale on Unsplash

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