Episco-Fact #166
November 28, 2019

What is Advent all about?

Advent is the anglicized version of the Latin Adventus, which in turn, translates the Greek Parousia. The Greek means "presence, arrival, or official visit." It was often associated with kings or emperors traveling about to see their realms, visit with their officials and the people, and to take stock of conditions in their political territories.

In Christianity it became the word associated with the coming of Jesus at the transition of the ages in order to assume sovereignty over the created order and represent God's will righteously. Hence, it the fancy language for the Second Coming.

Early Christian's the season both as a reminder of the coming of Jesus as a child and also as a reminder of the expected change of the ages. There is a lot of wake-up and be prepared language in the readings, carols, and preaching of the season. Traditionally, the first Sunday of Advent is the real Second Coming Sunday. It always contains readings about the "end times."

This Sunday's Gospel (Mt. 24.36-44) is no exception. It comes from a chapter in Matthew that is almost exclusively devoted to things that Old Testament prophets would have associated with the "Day of the Lord." That was their way of talking about the events that would happen to Israel and the "Nations" when God established his Kingdom on earth. The prophetic visions of that day were both hopeful and terrible. It seems that to set things right, even in the face of a loving God, will involve a struggle, creative destruction, and mystery.

Episco-fact will cover more details about the traditions of Advent in the coming weeks. These traditions are old and deeply embedded in the wrap and weave of the catholic Churches, especially those who follow the ancient traditions of preparations for feast season, long feast seasons (e.g. the twelve days of Christmas), and action that brings God's kingdom into this world.