December is the month of Advent for Christians. The word 'Advent' comes from the Latin language and is a verb form with the meaning of “coming towards, approaching,” or “he comes.” The “He” who is coming is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Our Emmanuel- which means: “God is with us.”
How does Jesus come to us today? The first way which Jesus comes to us today is in His Word. He tells us He is “with us” when we gather together around His Holy Word. In His Word, Jesus comes to us and blesses us with the comfort that He is our God; that He has died and risen again as He had promised; that our sins are forgiven and that Heaven has been opened for us.
The second coming which we celebrate this season is His Coming again in the future as His Word proclaims. On the Last Day, Jesus will come and raise all the dead. Those who believe in Him as their Savior and LORD will be brought to live with Him in the mansions prepared for us in Heaven. Those who rejected Him as their Savior and King will be rejected by and cast out of His Presence into the darkness of hell. There the Bible says: “will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The Last coming which we celebrate this Advent Season is His Coming at Christmas, “Galatians 4:4–5 (NIV84) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” The Bible is full of promises concerning this coming of Jesus the Christ, these promises all totally came true. The unusual circumstances of his birth (of a virgin, in Bethlehem) and even His death and resurrection show this child is indeed the very Son of God!
The length of Advent is a little different every year, since it is officially celebrated as the 4 Sundays before Christmas Day. This year, the first Sunday of Advent is November 30th. In the past, (around the 4th century) Advent was celebrated with fasting, or abstaining from some foods so that we might concentrate on Christ's coming with repentance and prayer.
Some families today will use an Advent Calendar, which begins December 1st and when the box for the day is opened it will suggest a passage or a devotional thought which points us to the coming Christ. Most churches will have an Advent Wreath with 4 colored candles and 1 white or Christ candle. Different churches have different name for the candles like “shepherd, or Bethlehem; hope or joy.” Three are usually purple (the color of repentance) or blue (the color of royalty) and one is usually pink or rose colored (Joy). The readings of the Sundays usually focus on one of the three comings of our LORD.
This advent, see Christ coming to you in His Word. Let Him bless you as He strengthens you with His promises. Use the opportunities to worship and thank Him together with your fellow Christians, in the House of the LORD. Witness again how He came one day into our World as a little baby and our brother. Remember how there is still one promise to be kept. That He will come again!