I’m sure you know that advent isn’t just a countdown to Christmas and a sign to ‘get motoring’ with present buying and card writing! The word ‘advent’ means ‘arrival’ or ‘coming into place’. Of course we look at it in the light of the birth of Christ some 2000 years ago, but the meaning of ‘advent’ speaks more of the future than the past; a great reminder that Jesus is not just historical. He lived, died, rose and ascended historically, but He’s about today, tomorrow and eternity too! The Bible tells us that He will return at a time only God the Father knows; therefore advent helps us to engage with a renewed anticipation of that. That sense of expectation is really important when it comes to our faith; it indicates something of our trust in God to fulfil His word to us.
In the second chapter of Luke, two people demonstrate the power of expectation: a devout man named Simeon and a prophetess called Anna are listed as significant examples of those in tune with God enough to live in anticipation. Simeon is described as being ‘moved by the Holy Spirit’ and ‘righteous and devout’ (Luke 2:25-27). Anna ‘never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying’ (Luke 2:36-38). I’m sure Luke mentions these two people because he marvelled at their faith; their deep connection with God and desire to see the arrival of Christ, for which they were truly rewarded as they saw Him face to face.
Anticipation is a significant part of faith, when we build a longing to see the return of Jesus our gaze is lifted and our days are directed less by apathy but more by a sense of passion and urgency to share our faith and communicate the good news that Jesus will come again some day!