When writing his letter to the 12 tribes, Hebrew Christians, scattered all over, James, a servant of God gives hope to a people whose faith was being tested through various trials. James was concerned about them yielding to fleshly responses such as: impatience, bitterness, materialism, disunity, but most importantly spiritual apathy. Because James was a church leader, obviously he felt responsible to encourage them in their faith.
The hope that James gives is this…
“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:8 ESV
So in the middle of their dark trials, frustrating emotions and difficult, grueling situations, James is calling them to patiently establish their hearts for the sole purpose of Jesus coming.
In studying the original Greek language of this passage, the word “coming” is translated into: arrival, Advent and the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God.
In addition various root words of the word coming include definitions such as to be by or be at hand to have arrived to be present, to be ready, in store, at command to be, exist, to happen, to be present.
Saint James captures the whole theme of Advent, the pre-Christmas holiday, which means coming. Annually celebrated every fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, for this 2011 year, November 27 was the first day of Advent.
Waiting, anticipating and looking for Christ’s return all relates to Advent.
Advent celebrates the birth of Christ as the long awaited Messiah as well as the anticipation of His return and second coming as victorious King.
Many churches, including ours, celebrate Advent by preparing a wreath, lighting candles, scripture readings, meditations and celebrations. The scripture readings focus on the prophecies of His coming as baby Jesus as well as declaring passages of His second coming as judge. During this time, many Christians participate in increase of prayer, fasting and repentance, Thanksgiving and praise with anticipation, hope and joy for His final coming again.
The purpose of the Advent: Keep your focus on Christ in all things.
The visual reminders of Advent do just that — they take basic symbolism reminding and pointing to Christ as a babe in a manger and as the soon coming King. The wreath and candles are such visual symbols. The colors play a large part as well. Purple is the primary color of Advent, symbolizing repentance and fasting. Purple is also the color of royalty, demonstrating the anticipation and reception of the coming King celebrated. Sometimes, blue is used instead of purple, as a means of distinguishing Advent from Lent. During the third Sunday, pink is used to represent joy or rejoicing transitioning the person from repentance, a sad dark time, toward celebration. White is the color that represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior and those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.
Although Christmas is the season in which Advent is celebrated in our day, to the Biblical forefathers and mothers it was an ongoing year-round expectation. Every author of each of the 66 books of the Bible, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament, spoke of the two comings of Christ.
Advent is represented in every book of the Bible. Some of the many scriptures that speak of the coming One include:
• Genesis 3:15 - the promise of the seed of Christ
• Numbers 24:17 - the lineage as descendant of Jacob
• Isaiah 9:7 - heir to the throne of David
• Psalms 45:6, 7 - written by King David anointed and eternal
• Psalm 2:7 - Declaration of the Son of God
• Micah 5:2 - born in Bethlehem
• Zechariah 9:9 - triumphal entry
• Psalm 16:10 - Jesus’ resurrected
• Psalm 68:18 - Ascension to God’s right hand
• Luke 2:25 - Simeon prophesied over the baby Jesus
• Luke 2:36 - Anna spoke of His redemption in Jerusalem.
Gift of Advent
Most importantly during this Christmas holiday, receive the greatest gift ever known to man — “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
1) Are you ready for the second coming of Christ? If not, ask Him to come into your anticipated expected heart, turn from your shortcomings and sins, and then serve Him fervently as your Lord and Savior.
© Copyright 2011 Simone Lake. All Rights Reserved
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About the author
Simone Lake is a pastor’s wife and full-time minister, serving in various areas. Her primary areas include Bible teacher and conference speaker (both in the U.S. and internationally). In addition, she writes devotional articles in several publications, is a short-term missionary, author, prayer leader, Bible mentor and chaplain. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies (MTS) and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities. Simone and her husband Pastor John Lake, enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking and mountain bike riding.