“and they will call him Immanuel” -which means, “God with us.”Matthew 1:23 NIV
For the next few weeks, I will be doing a mini-devotional on the meaning and reason for celebrating Advent. In this first week, we will examine the word and its significance.
A word we often hear at this time of year. We may have learnt about Advent growing up in the Catholic church, heard the word but not known what it meant, or never come across it. So, what does advent mean?
Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means arrival or appearance, especially an important one. It is the Latin translation of the Greek New Testament word parousia. The non-capitalized word advent refers to a coming into being or use (online Merriam-Webster dictionary). As in the advent of spring.
The capitalized Advent is what we are discussing, which refers to the beginning of the Christmas season, the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God in human flesh.
Reading the gospels of Luke and Matthew, we learn about the birth, announcement and recognition of Christ as the Son of God and King of Kings.
In the book of Luke, chapter one tells us of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, announcing that she will conceive a child by the power of the Holy Spirit and “the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (NIV)
In Luke 2, we learn of Jesus’ birth and the proclamation by angels to shepherds, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” (NKJV)
Then in Matthew 2, we hear about the wise men from the east, following a star to find the King of the Jews, and when they did, bowing down and worshiping Him.
Advent is the celebration of God coming to earth to take on human flesh and live among us as one of us. So what are the implications of this incarnation? Why is it so important that we celebrate it year after year?
We will look at those reasons next week, but I invite you to dwell on what we have learnt today.
The purpose of Advent is to prepare our hearts to focus on the miraculous arrival and appearance of God dwelling among us in Jesus Christ. As believers in Christ, this is to be our main reason for celebrating Christmas.
So let’s take some time this week to ponder and take in the amazing facts of the arrival of Immanuel, God with us.
Praying for you all!