A deeper understanding of anything can begin with a thorough definition. The word advent has its origins in the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”. Dictionaries generally agree upon the modern definition as “the coming, approach or arrival into place, view or being – especially of an extremely important event, change, person, or state”. Any etymology dictionary will take that a step further to let you know that adventus is the past participle stem of the Latin advenire “arrive, come to,” from ad- “to” + venire “to come”.
I think it is valuable to consider the fullness of this definition. What is the significance of the words “coming, approach or arrival,” of “place, view or being,” of “event, change, person, or state”? Given its roots, shouldn’t we consider the word advent to at least equally be defined as the “coming to”? Why is that addition meaningful? Just the definition of advent gives us ample guidance for devotion to a deeper relationship with the God of our understanding, but especially Jesus the Christ of the Judeo-Christian heritage, as we enter upon and traverse the Advent Season of the Liturgical Calendar.
How often have you struggled with feeling alone, disconnected, apart from? If not from people, what about in your relationship with a Higher Power, something or someone more powerful and wise than you or humanity as a whole? Many times, even when we are committed to a faithful existence and exercise our spiritual muscles in religious practices, prayers, or acts of piety, we “know” God loves us, but still feel a sense of distance. The Christian Bible proclaims , “whenever two or more of you are gathered in My name, I am there.” Perhaps you lament, “So, what about the rest of the time?”
Our Creator sent Jesus the Christ to us. When Our Lord left this world to dwell at Our Holy Parent’s right hand, He sent the Holy Spirit, the fullness of their love, to be with us. Our Salvation comes to us. Our Comforter comes to us. We don’t have to go looking or begging. Already, because “our bodies are a temple for the Lord”, we are never alone. We take God into all that we do. We make God a part of every choice, even if we do so unconsciously. We can neither hide from God nor is God hidden from us. This implies both a privilege and a responsibility.
The definition doesn’t end there. Advent means also “arrival (to arrive)” from the Latin ad ripam “to the shore,” from ad “to” + ripa “shore”, referring originally to touching ashore after a long voyage. Indeed, we would want to welcome such a weary traveler with pleasantries and all they need. As advent means “approach”, it means “the coming nearer to” from the Latin appropiare “go nearer to,” from the Latin ad- “to” + propiare “come nearer” (the comparative of prope “near”). All these definitions imply concerted and thoughtful effort on the part of the person coming. We can be grateful we are on the receiving end.
While the Spirit dwell within us, Christ the Lord will return to this world to “judge the living and the dead.” An approach is a process and something we can “see” developing. We can prepare. The word arrival defined as “the coming to a position or state of mind” reminds us that as Christ Jesus comes to contemplate and render judgment upon our lives, we might do well to begin such preparation in our minds. Jesus Or Lord will be a new vision, a triumphant king, ready to rule the new kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
If this is to be our Advent, we must watch with new eyes, be open to transformation, and ready to leave the false comforts of our homes. We must recognize and celebrate that, as “approach” figuratively suggests “a means of handling a problem, etc.,” Jesus the Christ is Our Means, Our Answer. We must welcome the One who will melt our icy hearts and minds to flow with Him, the Living Water. Our great sin is in forgetting or rejecting that we are bound eternally to God, not being ever mindful and conscious of our connection. Christ Jesus has shown us The Way to reconnect, to see again the Truth of our relationship with Our Creator.
The Way is to love as Jesus loved. For in whatever manner we are unloving of others, we are unloving of Jesus the Christ, of Our Creator, Our Lord God, and ultimately of ourselves – we who are “made in the image of God.” How can we be complete and content if we are at war with ourselves? It is time for us to “come to,” to wake up to the reality that the only aloneness we must face is that which we create for ourselves by not being ready to greet God face-to-face.
For Contemplation to “Come To” (recover consciousness)
About what have I been in denial?
How have I tried to hide from God?
Why do I resist being in full union with God?
In whose face do I struggle to see Christ?
Where in darkness have I unwittingly taken the Holy Spirit with me?
When will I be ready for Christ’s return?
This simple prayer I offer Lord…
It matters not how small I am; You are My All and I am Yours.
Let my mind and heart be ever open to Your presence
and my hands never closed to Your bidding.
Ever more, let me ask “What is the next right thing?”
Ever more let me hear and see Your answer in the echoes,
the same message from two unique sources,
that I might live the simplicity of Your Love that indwells me
until You, Christ the Lord, come in glory to rule forever more.
Lord, My God, let it be.
- How true a subject am I?: Reflections at the end of the Church year (thepracticingcatholic.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Is Near: How Do We Draw Close – Advent Blog Series Begins Sunday (godspace.wordpress.com)
- The Meat of the Eucharist: Defending the Real Presence (Part 2) (trustinjesus.wordpress.com)
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