Advent: ‘the arrival of a notable person or thing.’ In Christian terms it means the coming of the Messiah. It also suggests the idea of waiting and expectation for the Christ. In former times the Advent season extended over several weeks and was to be a time of spiritual preparation and anticipation; much as Lent is a lead up to Easter. Fasting was also associated with the Advent period. Christmas Eve in Ireland was a ‘fast day’ until evening time when a fish dinner was celebrated.
The lead up to Christmas was to prepare for a time of celebration and wonder. The time of incarnation, when God became man, when a Saviour was to be born. The advent of something new.
The birth of Jesus was a God plan. God promised it through the prophets over time:-unto us a child is born… The government will be on his shoulders… Wonderful counsellor… Mighty God… A root will spring up… Bethlehem. He arranged the circumstances- census, stars and stable. His angels announced it in glory. It was all in the grand scheme of salvation.
We may be conditioned to think that this life is a series of random events with coincidental people we meet along the way. Stuff happens, we move on. Things don’t work, shrug the shoulders. We are governed by fate, superstition or nothing at all. But thanks be to God- No! No! No!
Because there is ultimate purpose and meaning and lives to be lived and all this in God’s timing. In Him, we live, and move, and have our being.
And when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…the greatest gift given at the opportune time.