by Linda Veath

candlelightFor the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God …. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 NIV

… since you are looking forward to (a new heaven and a new earth), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him. 2 Peter 3:14 NIV

Advent. I wonder how many people take time to ponder what Advent is all about. It means “coming” and is traditionally celebrated on the four Sundays prior to Christmas. As to when it was first celebrated, there’s discussion on that, but it could have started as far back as 450 A.D. or even earlier. Celebrations vary but usually include special services, Advent hymns, and lighting of candles.

One part of Advent is the preparation to celebrate what has already come. The birth of Christ, when God became man to dwell among us, to give Himself as the sacrifice for our sins that we might spend eternity with Him. So, we celebrate Advent past.

At the same time, we are also looking forward to Christ coming again. With a loud shout, in the twinkling of an eye, the baby in the manger will be seated upon the throne, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. At that time, judgment will be at hand, with eternal life for all those who believe Jesus is Lord, and eternal damnation for all those who do not. In this manner, we anticipate Advent future.

We remember the one which has come; we wait for the one that is to come. And, as Max Lucado wrote in his book Because of Bethlehem, we “live between the Advents.” Some scholars actually refer to it as a third advent in that, just as Christ came the first time as the baby in Bethlehem and will come the second time as Lord and King, He also comes DAILY into our hearts as we study His Word in preparation for His return.

As we remember Advent past and prepare daily during Advent present, we wait for the future Advent. We don’t know the time or the hour, and we don’t need to know. We just know that He will come again. Maybe even this Christmas!

Are you ready?