The Latin word is adventus. The Greek word, parousia. It literally means, presence or arrival and biblically, refers to Christ's second coming.
For several centuries, particularly in the West, Christians have followed the six seasons of the liturgical calendar. It goes like this: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary time (post-Epiphany), Lent, Easter and Ordinary time (post-Pentecost).
If you didn’t grow up observing seasonal religion—you’re in good company because I didn’t either. My parents worshipped with a wide-open Bible. They prayed with, celebrated and served believers and non-believers from all walks of life. Our home faith was a raw, gritty, boots-on-the-ground with eyes-on-Jesus kind-of-thing. I knew the meaning of parousia years ago—not because of a fancy commentary but because my dad SO lives in anticipation of Jesus, it’s his email address! (Every time I hit ‘send’ on an email to my dad, I’m reminded of a theological reality that blows my mind!)
As I got older, I started craving religious tradition. The informality, fluidity and flexibility of faith is important but the ramparts matter too. It’s like a holiday dinner. I can cook or even enjoy a catered meal but there’s something about great-grandma’s macaroni and cheese that materializes from her vintage recipe card—something about pulling up to my parent’s home and feeling good.
Tradition is connection. Linking arms with brothers and sisters who’ve gone before—building on the foundation they laid, moving from elementary teaching to maturity as the writer of Hebrews says (Hebrews 5:11-6:3).
And that brings me to Advent.
It’s the four Sundays before Christmas where traditionally, two are dedicated to looking forward to Christ’s second coming and two recall the first.
Join me in this advent-ure with four short reflections from Matthew 25:1-13—the parable of the ten bridesmaids. I'll post a new entry each Sunday and we'll discover the mysteries this parable reveals.
"Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance the race set before you. "