What is Advent
Rev. David Schmidt
December 1, 2019
On December 1, we enter a new year in the church calendar, and we enter a new season; the season of Advent. What is Advent? Advent is a season of anticipation. The word advent means coming. So, in this season we anticipate the coming of Jesus. Now, you may be thinking of the anticipation we have at this time as we countdown to Christmas. However, Jesus doesn’t come just once. Therefore, there is much more to Advent. At Advent we look, not only to the past, but to the present and the future.
The advent we are probably most familiar with is our Lord’s coming in the past in the birth of Jesus. God became flesh so that he could be the perfect substitute for sinners. Through his life, death and resurrection, he saves us from the penalty of sin. The Advent season gives us the opportunity to anticipate our savior’s coming in history at his birth.
Then, the one who took on flesh and defeated sin, death and the power of Satan made a promise to us that he would return one day. Therefore, Advent is also about looking to the future when Christ will come back as he has promised. On that day, Jesus will cast out the presence of sin and we will experience the resurrection of our bodies living with our Lord in a restored creation. Therefore, during Advent we also anticipate Christ’s future coming in victory.
Not only do we anticipate Jesus’s coming in history, and his future coming in victory, we also celebrate the fact that Jesus comes to us today in mystery. Every time we come to the Lord’s Supper our Savior, who came as a baby in a manger and who will one day come back on the clouds, comes to us in bread and wine offering us his body and blood. In his supper, he deals with the power of sin in our lives today by forgiving us and sustains our faith.
Advent is about preparing our hearts to welcome our God who comes to us. We prepare our hearts through repentance to see what he has done, is doing, and will do about the problem of sin. He comes to save us, to sanctify us, and to glorify us. He came in the past to do something about the penalty of our sin. In the present he comes in his supper to forgive us and strengthen our faith in order to weaken the power of sin today. And on the last day he will come to cast out the very presence of sin. And so we sing, “O come, O come Emmanuel!”