Advent takes us back and brings us forward. In preparing us to celebrate Christ’s first coming, it places us alongside the ancient prophets, who awaited with aching intensity the fulfilled promise of a messiah, and Joseph and Mary, whose pregnancy made the expectation all the more palpable; it also strengthens our longing for Christ’s second coming, when he will return to fully and finally establish his kingdom on earth. Thus, Advent is a season of waiting and rejoicing.
It is an intentional season waiting, identifying with the longing of previous generations, stirring our own hope. It is also a season of rejoicing, celebrating the revelation of Jesus reconciling us to God. The birth of Jesus was announced by a host of angels making the declaration, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” During Advent particularly, we join that declaration.