Today, marks the beginning of the Advent 2021 season. Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation observed by most Christian denominations around the world. Over the years, I believe it is held in less esteem than it once was when I was a child fifty years ago. Perhaps, that is a sign of the times we live in. Anticipation, preparation, and waiting are not high on our list of cultural to-dos.
Derived from the Latin adventus , advent refers to the coming or arrival of Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah. The Greek word for advent is parousia and means presence, arrival, or official visit.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Advent anticipates the coming of Christ in a) the physical nativity occurring in Bethlehem, b) the receiving of Christ in the hearts of believers, and c) the Second Coming of Christ in the End Times.
People observing Advent keep Advent calendars, light candles around an Advent wreath, pray through a daily Advent devotional, and spend time fasting. Christians also spend time decorating and preparing for Christmas Day, all as a means of celebrating the Incarnation of Jesus.
The observance of Advent is believed to find its beginnings in the mid-5th century A.D. Whereas fasting played a large role in the early years of commemorating Advent, fasting waned over the centuries.
Typically, the four stages of Advent are hope, peace, joy and love. These themes may vary somewhat depending on the liturgical practices of different Christian denominations.
First Sunday of Advent 2021
Like the year that preceded it, 2021 has proved to be difficult and challenging. As the world tries to navigate past the COVID pandemic, an endless wave of hardships appear to await us. As believers, this gives us a beautiful opportunity to focus on the hope Jesus offers us in this lost and dying world. We can hope in God’s goodness and rest secure in His faithfulness to us, His creation. We can stand firm on His promises, including salvation through His beloved son, Jesus.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.Galatians 4:4-8 (NIV)
Heavenly Father, may hope arise in our hearts. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Free us from our fears; loosen the chains of despair and discouragement that seek to diminish the light of the Truth shining in us. Help us turn our eyes to You, O Lord. Turn our hearts and minds to that which pleases You, O God. Thank You, God, for bringing us Jesus. In His name we pray. Amen.
May the Lord shine His favor on you as you navigate this Advent season.
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The Devotional Guy™