Advent

The four Sundays of Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love

Walton United - Advent Wreath

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here,
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

The Meaning of “Advent”

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000-year-old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ where all of creation might be reconciled to God. This is a process in which we both participate and anticipate. Scripture readings during Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at his coming and the hope of eternal life.

In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. That acknowledgement provides a sense that we live “between the times” and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s coming in the Incarnation and anticipates a future for which “all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption,” it also confesses its own responsibility as a people commissioned to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbour as yourself.”