The season of Advent: What Are You Waiting For?!

Songdove Books - 2014 Advent WreathWhat are you celebrating this Christmas? Is it Advent? Are you celebrating the waiting of what already took place, or are you celebrating the anticipation of what is about to come?

A visit to thefreedictionary.com offers various definitions for the term “Advent”:

The first three entries in the dictionary are as follows:

ad·vent  (dvnt)
n.

  • 1. The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important: the advent of the computer.
  • 2. Advent
  • a. The liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning in Western churches on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and in Eastern churches in mid-November, and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence.
  • b. Christianity The coming of Jesus at the Incarnation.
  • c. Christianity See Second Coming.

[Middle English, the Advent season, from Old French, from Latin adventus, arrival, from past participle of advenre, to come to : ad-, ad- + venre, to come; see gw- in Indo-European roots.]

– The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Advent (ˈædvɛnt; -vənt)
n

  • 1. (Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity the season including the four Sundays preceding Christmas or (in Eastern Orthodox churches) the forty days preceding Christmas

advent (ˈædvɛnt; -vənt)
n

  • 1. an arrival or coming, esp one which is awaited
    [C12: from Latin adventus, from advenīre, from ad- to + venīre to come]
– Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

I find it interesting that this online dictionary’s first entry includes a subpoint pointing to the Second Coming of Christ!  Now it must be emphasized that the Second Coming of Christ occurs AFTER the catching away of the saints, the Bride of Christ.  This is not the time when Christ arrives with a trumpet blast to take away His Bride.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

This is event is when He sets foot on the Mount of Olives and every eye shall see Him on that day.

Revelation 1:7  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Zechariah 14:1-4  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.  2  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  3  Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.  4  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

For myself, I am waiting for the catching away as the wording goes in the Hebrew Scriptures.

naw-saw’, naw-saw’

  • A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: – accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.

The Hebrew word pronounced naw-saw or natzhal is used in various places of the Old Testament with the idea of the rapture being present.  Here is a sampling of situations and thought patterns it is used in:

Psalm 24:5 Psalm 28:9 Psalm 32:1 Psalm 32:5 Isaiah 11:12 a catching up, forgiveness, gathering together
Isaiah 18:3 mentioned with trumpets, and this chapter goes on to discuss how the nation of Israel will once again worship, a nation that had been scattered.
Isaiah 33:24 uses this word also in the manner of forgiveness and again among verses that deal with how Israel will be treated in the last days.
Isaiah 46:4 deliverance is how this word is used here.
Isaiah 51:6 used to tell the reader to look up and pay attention and describes what will happen and what will last.  Isaiah 52:8 interesting verse speaking to watchmen, to those of us who are watching and waiting.
Isaiah 57:15  this time used in reference to where God is, and His position there.
Isaiah 63: 7-10 uses this word as well.
Ezekiel 3:12,14 the word is used when Ezekiel was taken up, and in verse 14, he didn’t want to go where the Spirit wished to take him, but he went anyway.
Ezekiel 8:3  poor guy, here he’s lifted away by a lock of his hair!
Ezekiel 11:1  This happened alot to this prophet.

Songdove Books - Our Little Christmas TreeWhile we do have a small Christmas tree in our home, we have, for the last number of years, switched to the primary display being that of a Cross over the manger with a crown on top.  Gifts are placed in the manger, and the cross is wrapped in tinfoil, streamers, and homemade clay decorations depicting shepherds, staffs, angels, stars, etcetera.  We don’t have this year’s cross set up yet due to lack of BBQ-grade tinfoil in the house this year, but hopefully it will be up in time for Christmas.

My scanning of my Facebook newsfeed today revealed a few thoughts that spawned today’s musings.  One verse spoke of placing our thoughts on heavenly things, while another verse spoke of Christ’s appearing to those who have accepted His gift of Salvation.

Colossians 3:1-4  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  4  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Hebrews 9:28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
2 Timothy 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

This led me once again to the issue of focus.  There are memes around the ‘net that say not to spend too much time looking at your past, nor spend too much time looking at your future, but to focus on here and now.  This would contradict Scripture that says to watch and wait for the appearing of our Heavenly Bridegroom.  We are told to lay up treasures for ourselves in Heaven that don’t rust or corrupt or get stolen by thieves.  We are told to be wise, as those who long for His appearing.  We are also told that this longing and waiting should be matched by what we are doing while we wait.  As we pay attention to the signs and set about ensuring that our own hearts and lives are ready for Christ’s return, such a focus should have us longing that others would be ready for His appearing too.  This means planting seeds of the gospel, watering seeds that have already been planted, and harvesting those that have become ripe so they too can go out into the harvest.  We are to be Christ’s hands and feet and mouthpiece to the world around us, living out the words of Scripture to a fallen and needy world wracked with war, disease, famine and strife.  The Christian must have a forward-facing focus, an upward-facing focus, and there is no better time of year to reset that focus than during the season of Advent!

Songdove books - bridalgownIt is now, during this season, that we refresh our focus on our Heavenly Bridegroom’s soon return for His Church, the Bride of Christ.  Have we washed our garments in the Blood of the Lamb?  Are we wearing His Robe of Righteousness?  Are we standing ready for battle in the Armour of the Lord?  Revelation says that John saw the New Jerusalem, coming down as a Bride made ready for her husband.  We are in a season of preparation.  We can’t just sit by the window and wait for signs of the King coming down the street of time.  We must be about our Father’s business, and set about ensuring our bridal garments are white and ready for His appearing.

The Gift of Life that Christ gave on the Cross of Calvary 33 years after His birth, must be fully accepted in each person’s heart, mind and daily life.  The only gift we can give back that even comes remotely close, is that of our own lives in exchange for God’s living within us.  However, as I’ve told my children over the years, we show our appreciation to the giver of a gift, but how we look after that gift and use it for it’s designated purpose.  How are we doing on that front?  How  are we using the Gift of Life that Christ gave us?  Now would be a good time for such introspection as we travel through Advent this year.  Are we ready for the Celestial Grown Birthday Boy’s return?  Which end of His Kingly Staff will we find ourselves?  Will we be at His right hand, or under His footstool?

He’s coming folks, and He wants to celebrate as a grown man with His Bride!  Are you still looking at His baby pictures?  Or are you anticipating your Heavenly Lover’s return?