Updated: Dec 17, 2019
You can define the celebration of Advent by using one word: Coming.
But there is so much more to the Advent than that word that can tell! Merriam Webster actually calls the Advent: an arrival, one that has been awaited for; especially something momentous.
I like that. It's more than a coming. It's a long-awaited, greatly-expected, monumental one! Can you feel the tension and the excitement in that description? We can read about this expected waiting all throughout the Bible. Let's start at the beginning and experience the Advent as it unfolds.
It all began with perfection.
In the beginning Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the Garden. The Bible tells us that they were so familiar with his presence that they knew the sound of him approaching. This was a direct result of time spent daily with one another. He with them. They with him.
But sin entered to mar the perfection and separation would now be the familiar. Banished from the Garden to protect against eternal estrangement and weighted down with consequences of disobedience, Adam and Eve were given this hope: God spoke that a child from their union would come. This child would have his heel bruised but would one day, ultimately, crush the enemy that had been set loose.
Adam and Eve heard and believed - So, they waited.
So, they waited.
Time goes on and God calls a man named Abraham to go to a place that Abraham did not know of. While there, God promises to give him a great name, make a great nation out of his descendants and that through his people all the world would be blessed. Abraham heard and believed - So, he waited.
The Israelites grow into that great nation and God delivers them from even greater oppression and leads them out into the desert of Sinai. While there, God tells Moses to build a place for him, a sanctuary, that he may be their God and they his people.
The tabernacle is completed and God's glory rests upon the The Most Holy Place, and once again God dwells with man.
But the constant shedding of blood and the rituals of sacrifice are a daily reminder to the people that this is not the Garden, and this is not the same - So, they waited.
The Bible continues and every page and every story speak of something greater that is to come. A Messiah, a Deliverer that would one day claim every spoken promise and fill the longing within the hearts of those dedicated to the LORD.
Hebrews tells us that these who believed died in their faith looking and longing for the day when that greater would appear.
They heard and believed - So, they waited.
Matthew bursts on the scene with the momentous news that the "virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they call him Immanuel". The day has finally arrived that has been longed for and all the earth rejoices as God is with us once again. Not in cloud or smoke or glory hovering over the altar, but as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.
This baby, Jesus Christ, grows into a man. He lives a perfect life, dies a sacrificial death, and is miraculously raised back to life.
Then the agonizing happens.
Jesus turns to his disciples, admonishes them to spread the news of what he has done so all may hear and believe. He promises to return one day and then leaves the earth to ascend back to heaven.
And they stood and waited.
The Bible is very clear. It tells us that Christ's death was our healing and that because of this gift we now can have peace with God as we are reconciled back into his glorious presence.
But it is still not the same.
There is no walking and talking in the cool of the Garden. There is no familiar sound of his presence. There is no he with us, us with him.
Oh, yes, I know what it is to spend time with God. I understand how I allow him to move, guide, lead and direct my life. I know that he will never leave or forsake me.
But, I admit that it's not the same as if I could see him, hear his voice or touch him. I long for that. My heart aches for that - So, I wait.
I wait, you wait, we wait just like the the disciples did and all those who came before us. We wait, but not in passivity for we know just as they did that something greater is coming. We can wait celebrating the first coming, sharing the story of that Advent that brought light into darkness, as we anxiously wait for the second.
We wait, celebrating the first, while we anxiously look for the second.
Revelation tells us what that second Advent will be like. Read along with me.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Rev. 21:3 (emphasis mine)
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face.. and they will reign forever and ever. Rev. 22:3-5 (emphasis mine)
One day there will be no more waiting for we will be with him and he with us and we shall see his face forever. One day every tear will be wiped away and all things made new. One day the old order and curse will be forever removed.
One day will be here one day. But, for now, we wait.