What Does Advent Mean?
Why is Advent Important?
I studied Latin in high school. One of the reasons I chose this language was that I was told it could help me better understand meanings of words because so many English, Spanish, French, and Italian words have their roots in Latin.
Now days, I don’t think often about Latin, but sometimes it does come back to me. The meaning of Advent is an instance that pulls on these studies. When we break down the two roots of the word, it not only tells us what Advent means, but also why Advent is important.
‘Ad’ Means Towards Something
There are two similar prepositions in Latin: ad and ab. The trick I used to remember them was to look at the direction the circle was facing. For ‘ad’, the circle was pointing toward the a, and for ‘ab’, the circle was point from the a. Therefore ad and ab meant toward and from respectively.
English is filled with words using these prepositions.
In understanding advent, we first come to know something is moving toward.
‘Vent’ Means to Come
There is a phrase in Roman history where Julius Caesar made a quick and decisive victory. He wrote back to Rome, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” In the original Latin: “veni, vidi, vici.”
‘Vent’ derives from the first word of this phrase, veni, which means to come. Therefore, putting these two together, Advent means to come toward.
A Time of Expectation, Longing, and Hope
Advent is the Christian season where we are coming to the birth of Christ. We are preparing our hearts to fully participate in this reminder of joy and expectation of Christmas. Our preparation is our attempts to come to God to offer our praise and adoration for our Savior. It is a time of longing and renewal of hope.
The churches that celebrate the Advent season light Advent candles to lead us into teachings of hope, peace, joy, and love. The circle of the wreath symbolizes the eternity of God. Each reminder brings us closer to Christmas and the blessings God has for us.
Jesus is the Emmanuel
Not only are we coming to Christmas, more importantly God came to us. Jesus came as the Emmanuel – God with us. God did not want to be apart from us, so He came and is still coming to us. He came to be one with us, to make a way for us, so we can be united with Him… forever.
Advent reminds us God came to us. Now it is time for our response. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). We don’t have to receive it, but we couldn’t have a response to Him if He hadn’t first come. He initiated with us. How will we respond?
Advent is an Invitation to Come to God
Advent reminds us that we are coming to Christmas, God came to us, and it is an invitation for us to come to God. Open your heart to Him. Tell God your desire to come to Him, to be with Him, to love Him. Then ask Him how you could practically love Him this Advent season.
Make this Advent special and receive God’s coming to you. Thank Him for His love, and set your mind to actively coming to Him.