Leading up to Christmas each year is when many Christians observe Advent, a time to anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth. “Advent” comes from the Latin words “adventus,” which means “arrival,” and “advenire,” meaning “to come.” The word is now defined as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” Therefore, Christmas Advent is when Christians anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ first coming to earth.
However, many do not realize that Advent is even more than celebrating Jesus' birth. Two thousand years ago, the Jews were anticipating a coming Messiah, the One promised by God to save them. But today, that Messiah has already been born, lived, and ascended to Heaven. This means that when we observe Advent, we’re anticipating more than just the celebration of Jesus’ birth—we’re also anticipating the return of Christ through His second coming.
As we both remember Christ's first coming and anticipate a new coming of Christ, we live out the reality of our already-but-not-yet existence. What does this mean?
We already see the fulfilled promise of Jesus coming to earth to save us (Luke 4:17–21). We have already been promised by Jesus that He will come again to rescue us from this life that is filled with sin, suffering, and death (John 14:3). We already have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit within us who seals us and is a guarantee of our present and future salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22). And, most importantly, we have already been justified and reconciled with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 5:1).
But even though we already have salvation in Jesus, the full work of salvation and redemption has not yet been completed (1 Peter 1:3–5). We still sin, we still mourn, we will still die (John 16:20). We have not yet reached our final destination, our home. We are not yet living out our eternal life in Heaven and on the new earth with God (Revelation 21:1–5).
That being said, we can be confident that God will fulfill all those promises to us. All we have to do is look back and see the promise He already fulfilled through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus to see that God’s Word is firm and stands firm forever (Isaiah 40:8). As we look back to see what God has already done, we can be filled with faith to believe in what He has not yet brought to completion. He has proved He is worthy of being trusted.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to celebrate Advent together each Sunday. There is an Advent booklet available for you to read through with your family each week, which you can find at bellevue.org/family. There will also be a new blog each Sunday for you to follow along with us as we expectantly wait for December 25 as well as the second coming of Christ. It is our prayer that these resources will fill your hearts with hope, peace, love, and joy as you celebrate the Coming King this holiday season.