Advent is a season in the traditional Christian calendar gradually developing in the centuries after the time of Christ's apostles. If your background is in Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, etc. you are already familiar with such terms as Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, and Trinity. Advent includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas (this year, 29 November-24 December).
The term comes from the Latin adventus, meaning arrival or coming. As we read in Hebrews 9:28, ... Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Thus the scriptures speak of two comings: the second coming is still future, and will herald the last resurrection and judgment day. The first coming of course was Christ's entry into our world. The significance of Christ's advent lies not in observing the exact month and day Jesus was born—no one knows the month, nor did the early church save the date—but in the incarnation itself: God became one of us, taking on human flesh, for our salvation.
Thus we live between the two advents. Until he comes back, our Lord calls us to holy living: … while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:13-14).
- The second advent will be glorious.
- Because of the first advent, and in assurance of the second, we are redeemed from wickedness, which means
- Life between the two advents is to be pure.
- We wait for his return—not passively, but actively, eager to follow Christ, because
- We belong to him.