By: Shelley Birdsong, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Scripture: Matthew 24:23-28
The word “advent” derives from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” Adventus is the very term used in Matthew 24:27 when Jesus explains the “coming” of the Son of Man at the end of the age. He describes his return as unpredictable, brilliant, and swift—like a lightning bolt flashing across the sky. Jesus uses this figurative language to convey two important ideas to his students. One, he wants to convince them that his reappearance cannot be predicted. Nobody will see him approaching, and if they claim they can, they’re wrong. Two, his second adventus will be as mysterious as his first, when he discarded his divinity, put on “the form of a slave,” and “was born in human likeness” (Phil 2:7). This is the miracle we celebrate during Advent. We honor not only the time when Jesus came, but also how he came, as a naked and helpless babe from his mother’s womb. The divine creator became a mere mortal and dwelt among us; this is a mystery indeed.
Oh Emmanuel, let me not be led astray by false claims but trust in your truth. Give me strength to wait patiently for your second adventus as I celebrate your first.