The birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the earth — the very thing the whole story has been about.” — C.S. Lewis
Advent is the first season in the church calendar. Since the 7th century A.D., Christians have included this celebration in their preparation for Christmas Day.
Beginning four Sundays before Christmas, its purpose is twofold: first, it prepares us for the celebration of the birth of Christ and second, it reminds us that we are eagerly waiting for Jesus’ return in glory.
The word “advent” originates from the Latin word advenio which means coming to. Advent is the time when we focus on Christ coming to the world. Throughout history, the Israelites anticipated the coming of their Messiah. In the Old Testament, over 400 scriptures and prophecies outline His birth, life, death, resurrection, and return. God had a plan to redeem His people. He declared His plan to His prophets over the centuries and is fulfilling His Word even now.
“Prepare the way of the Lord” serves as a main theme of this season. As we get ready for Christmas, we should not neglect to prepare our lives for Jesus, who came as “the light of the world.” His light penetrated a dark world, which allowed all to see their Messiah, and the hope of their future.
Today we need to be prepared for the coming of Christ. Learning more about what the Bible reveals about Christ’s return will enable us to understand the possible significance of world events.
Be ready and watchful, for the light of the world has come and will surely come again.
SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT: HOPE
We light a second purple candle on the second Sunday of Advent to represent the hope of Christ coming to the world.
The word “hope” has two meanings in the Bible. The first, tiqvah, contains the sense of eager anticipation or waiting. The second, elpis. depicts a sense of confident expectation based on certainty. Biblical hope is secured by God’s faithfulness to His promises. For the Old Testament leaders, their hope was in the Messiah’s arrival. For us, it is the hope of the Messiah’s return.
God’s plan for humanity unfolded in the town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Messiah, joyously fulfilling a long-awaited promise. Today we confidently wait for the Messiah’s triumphant return.
DAY ONE: HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
“But you, Bethlehem, only a small village in Judah, yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from a distant past … And He will stand to lead His flock with the Lord’s strength … Then His people will live undisturbed, for He will be highly honored all around the world. And He will be the source of our peace.” (Micah 5:2, 4-5)
This is one of the most powerful messianic passages because Bethlehem is pinpointed as the birthplace of the Messiah. Written 750 years before Christ, Micah tells of the honor which will belong to Bethlehem. Christ’s deity and humanity are shown here — He is a shepherd, leading with the strength of God, bringing peace to His people.
The precision of God’s promises proclaimed and fulfilled inspire us continually to hope in God. The hope of Christians is not wishful thinking, but based on the historical facts of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, and in the confidence of His eagerly anticipated return.
Heavenly Father, You are the source of all hope and we know our hope is in You — You will not disappoint us. Teach us this week to anchor our hope in Jesus. Help us to persevere with You when we feel like giving up. We eagerly wait for Your return. Amen.