by Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal
Adventus. [Latin] - arrival, approach.
Advent. [Middle English] - a coming into place, being, arrival
Early Church- A season of preparation for coming into the church as it prepared for the second coming of Christ.
Middle Ages-when Advent changed from expectation of Jesus' second coming to a season of preparation for the celebration of Jesus' birth.
21st C-a chance to recapture the meaning and value of intentional and sustained spiritual preparation for the celebration of Jesus' arrival into our world.
Adventus has had a long journey in the life of the greater church. Through it all the season has always been about the faithful answering, “yes we will!” To Jesus’ call.
Originally it was the time of preparation for new converts to the faith. During those times becoming a Christian meant a radical life change. This change was not a spiritual choice alone. Becoming a Christian meant societal change as well. Which is probably why there were very few upper class converts for centuries.
Once the church came to power the nature of Advent changed, it became more of an inward journey. It was then that it also begun its journey toward what we know now, a loosely held tradition that reminds us that Christmas is coming.
Advent has lost nearly all of its significance in its journey from adventus to advent, from an intentional process of preparation for a different life as a follower of Christ to little more than the season when we begin to hear Christmas carols and decorate our homes.
It makes sense, we live in a world where there are no consequences from becoming a Christian. It is illegal for us to be fired because of our faith. We aren't necessarily disowned by our families or ostracized by our friends. We can be or become Christians while being no different from any non Christian around us. In fact, we are free to be less loving, less caring and all around a worse person than any non Christian person around and still call ourselves Christians.
Perhaps it is time for a new understanding of the season. Perhaps we need to recapture the yes we will of Adventus. An intentional Season of preparation that can help us deepen our faith and relationship with Jesus. A season long enough to create changes in how we live our lives. Interestingly, science has discovered how doing something for around 40 days is a good way to create a habit one is more likely to Keep.
Will you be intentional about adding your yes we will to your Advent season this year?