“so 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.” Hebrews 9:28

Ayla and Eli, my niece and nephew, rush to their Advent calendar every morning to find a little treat during the Christmas season. Photo credit by Cheryl Horst.

Advent calendars can be found in stores everywhere, from Walmart to Pottery Barn.  Some are simple pieces of cardboard made with little doors for children to pry open, others are elaborately carved boxes with drawers that have little messages or pieces of candy.  Pinterest abounds with DIY patterns to make one for your family while even beauty specialty stores and coffee shops have created ones to appeal to adults.  Even though it has become extremely commercialized, the root of this countdown activity to Christmas has a significant spiritual meaning.

In Latin, advent simply means “coming”.  Although how it is celebrated has evolved over the years, the main premise of the Advent season is anticipating the coming of Christ.  We can spend time reflecting not only on the miraculous birth of our savior, Jesus, but also anticipating His return.  For Christians, our lives have already been changed by Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection.  Yet, even with salvation, we still experience loss, heartache, sickness, and death.  But our hope lies beyond those painful moments.  We have the assurance that Jesus is coming again!  We can look forward to a time when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).  This Christmas, I want to spend more time anticipating Jesus’ return!

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