Following the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles that remind us of things still to come; Advent reminds us to prepare our hearts to remember who already came and who will come again. The weeks of the four Sundays before Christmas is known as Advent. It is an extra-biblical season and by no means is required for Christians to celebrate but is up to the conscience of each person (Romans 14:5–6). This article will get into the history behind Advent and its meaning.
Advent means arrival. Thus, there are two advents to remember and celebrate. Jesus’ first advent, and his coming second advent. But when this remembrance started is unclear. The Apostles do not mention it in scripture nor do the disciples of the Apostles. A call for fasting and prayer leading up to Christ was seen around 480AD and in 567AD The Council of Tours required all monks to fast and pray during the month of December leading up to Christmas. Each culture has had its own traditions incorporated into the Advent remembrance celebrations but a common tradition is lighting a white candle each Sunday until Christmas.
The core meaning of Advent is twofold. First is to humble ourselves and joyfully celebrate the birth of the Son of God in the flesh. The second is to serve the Son of God until he returns in the hope of eternal life with him. Advent is a season for selfless service and joyful hope. It is a season to call all believers to evaluate their hearts and worship God through humble service and joyous giving. Fasting and Prayer helps believers focus on the significance of the Son of God’s advents. First advent as the suffering humble servant and redeemer, the second as eternal King.
Also read PRAYER | Repentance | Fasting
The Old Testament depicts two separate advents (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7; Zechariah 14:4). It is clear the first advent has taken place through the person of Jesus Christ. The second advent will have a different purpose and tone ( Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7). The Angels of heaven
revealed this (Acts 1:11) and Jesus himself stated it (Matthew 24:30). For believers, it will be a glorious event and something to earnestly look forward to (Titus 2:13); hence the reason for establishing the Advent season. Not as a mandatory religious legalistic act that has not merit, but as a simple reminder of the blessed hope that is to come. The Fall Jewish feasts commemorate what is still to come while the Christian season of Advent commemorates who has come already and is coming again.
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