What is Advent?

by Aaron Petty

Each year, around this time, Christians enter the season of Advent. The name “Advent” derives from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” In this season, Christians celebrate the Incarnation of God as Jesus Christ, who came to save His people from their sins. The end of Advent, Christmas, is the culmination of a long period of waiting: the promise of salvation fulfilled. The season of Advent is a time of both worship and waiting for Christians, as in it we rejoice in God’s promises and await their fulfillment.

During Advent, we undergo the spiritual practice of waiting. We remember that before Christ came to the world, God’s people were likewise in a period of waiting. God had promised a Messiah, a Savior, but they had not yet received Him. In their waiting, they had faith in God’s faithfulness.

Then, in a little town called Bethlehem, God delivered the Messiah. He became a man, was born of a virgin, and thus a movement began. Jesus walked on Earth, healing the sick and preaching the Good News of the Gospel. In Christ, God fully revealed His loving character and His plan for redemption. This Jesus, this God-Man, would die a sinner’s death so that all who put their faith in Him would be saved. Advent reminds us to wait on God’s promises, for He is faithful to fulfill them.

However, during Advent we also remind ourselves that God’s promises have not yet been completed. God promises an utter restoration of Earth to the shalom it experienced before the destruction of sin entered. The world as we know it has not yet been redeemed. Like God’s people through all of history, we now wait on God, and put our faith in His promises to us. Amidst sorrows and sufferings, chaos, violence, death, and disease, God calls us to put our hope in Him, and wait for Him to answer our cries for help.

This Advent, we at Duke Crux and UVA Bearings invite you to join us as we observe this holy season. During these four weeks, we await our Savior by meditating on His Word and His coming in our writing. Check back regularly on this website to read poetry and prose from our students reflecting on the Advent season.

Aaron Petty is a senior at Duke University studying Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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