I am a scrooge. It may sound hard to believe, but trust me. Just ask my spouse and she will testify that I tend to shun away from all Christmas period activities. Putting up lights, decorating the tree, shopping for gifts or even driving around to go watch the infamous Highland Park Christmas lights usually requires more convincing than a visit to the dentist. I find little joy in the hustle and bustle that tends to accompany the advent period.
And with the start of Advent, I started to find myself in my “scrooge” mode once more. Until I started to reflect on what Advent really means. Usually we tend to brush away the more mundane activities as “fodder for the masses” or dismiss them easily with statements like “people have completely hijacked the advent season” or “that’s not what Christmas is all about.”
So what is Advent all about ? What is Christmas all about ? We know Advent means “coming,” but where does this really appear in the Scriptures? So off I went. With a little research, I discovered that the word Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus.” A quick search in a Latin Vulgate Bible told me that it is actually used as the Latin translation of the Greek word “Parousia.” Leveraging the tools of modern technology (my Greek is quite rusty after all), my Bible software told me that this word is used 22 times in the New Testament, of which no less than 16 refer to the “Second coming of Christ.”
Now that’s enlightening. The roots of our word “Advent” point back to the same word used to describe “The second coming of Christ.” Or the coming of the Kingdom. Not just Christ’s first coming in His birth some 2,000 years ago, but also to His glorious return and Kingdom. Interesting.
Last Sunday we covered an initial description of this Kingdom in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. A passage with many images and descriptions that are hard to understand. But it all points back to a Kingdom where God is on the throne, in control and worthy of worship. Where a Lamb alone is able to open the scroll which noone else can, because He was slain and ransomed us into the Kingdom. Where everyone worships the lamb with the words: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)
How those are images wherein we as Christians should find our ultimate hope. A Kingdom ruled by Christ, to which we have been invited, in which we will join together, to worship Him. Our hope is found in the realization that God is in control, even now. Our joy can be found in the knowledge that Christ has ransomed us into this Kingdom. And our comfort is brought about by a future in which we will join together in endless praise.
And that hope is perhaps something worth celebrating this season. That joy is perhaps worth the time to put up some lights. To decorate a tree. To spend time with family and friends. So perhaps I should be less of a scrooge this year and let this advent season be a celebration of the realization that He will come again and that our ultimate hope lies in His Kingdom. Perhaps by the end of this season, you may even catch me humming a Christmas carol. Because there is hope after all, even for me.