Many believers know the season of Advent serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. That’s only part of the story. Advent also points to the second coming of Christ in power and great glory at the end of the age. Indeed, the word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia, often used in the New Testament to refer to Christ’s return.
The church, then, finds itself in a situation analogous to Israel’s at the end of the Old Testament period—feeling exiled, waiting in faith, and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on that basis, they called for God to act once again on their behalf. In the same way, the church during Advent looks back to Christ’s coming in celebration, while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation for his return.