Chocolate Advent calendars quickly come to mind when I think of Advent: finding the door each day and counting down the days until Christmas. It brings back memories of being a child - that hopeful, expectant, excited, rarely patient, waiting for Christmas day itself. But despite still loving a good Advent calendar, this season has taken on much more significance to me over the last few years. The Advent calendar is just a very faint shadow of the real coming that Advent looks forward to.
Advent is a time when the church is waiting for the promised coming of Jesus, remembering his first coming and waiting for his second. God’s people had spent thousands of years expectantly waiting for their promised Messiah. Then, a little over 2000 years ago, one night in Bethlehem, God’s promise was fulfilled as Jesus the Saviour of the world was born – God became man. The first season of waiting was over. A few years later John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, ‘prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’
Yet when Jesus left us and returned to his Father, he promised that he will come again to “save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28) and so the second period of waiting began. Advent is a time of hopeful, expectant, eager, and faithful waiting for the day when Jesus comes again. We wait remembering the time God first fulfilled his promise to send a saviour, trusting that Jesus will fulfil his promise to return.
So this Advent, as we eat our chocolate, light our candles and sing our carols let’s be remembering the fulfilled promises of Jesus’ first coming and eagerly waiting for his second.