What Is Advent?

It's almost time.

The massive 117-foot wide HuskerVision video screen goes black. The Cornhusker Marching Band finishes the "Pre-Game Spectacular" and assumes its position, forming an extension of the tunnel from which the Husker football team will soon emerge.

The west half of Memorial Stadium roars, "HUSKER!" Then the east, "POWER!"

The cheer goes back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. You can feel it building. The excitement. The restlessness. The anticipation.

Then, with a flash of white light, the HuskerVision screens come back to life. Sirius begins. It’s game time.

What is Advent?

Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming,” isn’t a mere countdown to Christmas or a reminder that egg nog is back on shelves at the grocery store. For Christians, much like the Huskers’ Tunnel Walk is a tradition established to build anticipation prior to Husker football games, Advent is a season of celebration and anticipation of the coming, or advent, of Christ.

Each year the season of Advent begins four Sundays prior to Christmas day. This year, it kicks off on Sunday, November 30.

Anticipation Past and Present

This sense of anticipation during advent is two-fold. On the one hand, we identify with God’s people in the Old Testament who, for centuries, anticipated the coming of the Messiah. We remember God’s promise to His people to provide a Deliverer and celebrate Jesus and His birth, the first advent, as the fulfillment of this promise.

On the other hand, we eagerly anticipate the second advent of Christ. Though Jesus was victorious over sin, death, and Satan through His death and resurrection, there are reminders all around us that the world is not yet as it should be. Death, disease, brokenness, and sin are still present in our world and no one is immune to their effects. We live in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” and await Jesus’ promised second coming when sin and death will be removed from our presence and all things will be made new. Revelation, the final book of the Bible, gives us a beautiful glimpse of this promise:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:3-5

Join Us

So, I invite you to join us this Advent season as we celebrate the first advent of Christ and eagerly await His second. Can you feel it building? The excitement? The restlessness? The anticipation?

It’s almost time.