We get the word “advent” from the Latin, meaning “coming.”
To Christians, it is used in the context of the First and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. For His return (or Second Advent), the date and time are not known (Matthew 24:36).
Regarding the first, advent season begins in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, as we remember and prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Messiah. It also begins the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken 400 years earlier by the prophet Malachi about events leading up to this glorious event.
It was a period of 400 years. That’s the time between the close of the Old Testament with Malachi’s prophecy and the opening of the New. When the book of Malachi was written, the nation of Israel had been disobedient before God— practicing idolatry, and worshipping the idols and gods of the heathen and not keeping the law of God (2:8-9). But, he says, a time will come when reconciliation will occur— when the Lord will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (4:5-6).
It is in that setting four centuries later that God breaks His silence when all of a sudden God starts to speak and reveal His Word and miracles begin to happen again. All of this leading up to the greatest miracle, the virgin birth, which clearly shows that God has again intervened in the process of making known His ultimate plan of redemption through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This all begins with the announcement to a humble priest by an angel that he and his barren wife will be birth parents to John (the Baptist), the one chosen to proclaim the arrival of the Messiah!
Nothing would ever be the same.
That is what is so special about Advent.
Each Sunday for the month of December, Island Christian Church will be offering a devotional booklet, The Gifts of Christmas for those who want to make the most of this Advent season.
-Pastor Joe Garofalo