Advent, a season to prepare for Christmas
The word Advent comes from a Latin word “Adventus” which means “Coming”. Advent is focused on preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ. The season is marked by great expectation, celebration and longing not just for Christmas or Christ’s birth but his eventual return. The spirit of Advent season is best illustrated in the parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25:1-14. In this story, it is expected that the bridesmaids would await the arrival of the bridegroom and greet him with a procession of light, this light is our faith and how spiritually we are prepared.
There are three meanings of ‘coming’ that Christians describe in Advent. The first, and most thought of happened about 2021 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us sinners. The second is the most expected one of which will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as king and judge, not a baby. The third can be identified as what happens now as Jesus wants to come into our lives through the celebration of Christmas.
The significance of Christmas is that a savior is born to save the world from sin and a result God establishes His kingdom on earth. Christmas is God’s gift to mankind. God gave His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to die for mankind (John 3:16) so that through sin and its eternal consequence, which is Hell.
You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look into God’s face and tell Him you have received His gift. Am I ready to do that? Am I ready to reflect on Jesus’ birth? We should ask ourselves: “He came to be my Lord and Savior, to save me from sins and reign as King in my Heart; have I fulfilled the significance of His birth by responding to the significance of His death and resurrection? (Acts 2: 36-38). Preparing our selves ready to celebrate Christmas is all about making our spiritual lives clean by mainly repenting, this is significant in a way that we are aware of the holiness of the soon to be born Jesus Christ in our lives.
Preparation for Christmas is an important theme for Advent, but more is involved. Advent gives us a vision of our lives as Christians and shows us the possibilities of life.
The vision of life that Advent gives us is twofold; it looks back to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, and it looks to the future when Christ will come again. In the interval between these two events we find meaning for our life as a Christian.
First, we celebrate Christ – become – human. We view his life and experience his presence as a human being in our history. Christ came to show us what life can and should be. He gave us true and valid principles by which we can live true and valid lives. Advent is our time to become more involved, more caught up in the meaning and the possibilities of life as a Christian community. Thus, we are preparing not only for Christmas but also for Christ’s second coming. This means that when he comes again, we will be awake and watchful. He will not find us asleep.
Advent invites us to meditate on the profound mystery of the incarnation, as well as the second coming of Christ. We ponder both the condescension of the God-man and the end. God has no beginning and no end, but we are mere mortals. Our end is a point of humility for us as we consider that our earthly life is not the be-ell-end-all. There is so much more than the here and now. Therefore, Advent is a season of opportunity. We can enter into the depth of the mystery of silence and darkness that defines winter. Christ is the light for which we long during these endless months of night. However, Advent is also a penitential season (though joyful), we are too called to participate in similar ways to Lenten practices.
Sem. Robert Bigabwarugaba