Column by Gary M. Wisenbaker
VALDOSTA – In the hustle and bustle of an autumn’s indoor and outdoor hurly-burly and getting ready for December 25th (and all that happens between now and then), we often forget that there is more to Christmas than its Eve and Day.
And that is the season of Advent which begins Sunday, December 2nd.
The name is derived from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming”. The Roman Church initiated this originally Gallican custom somewhere around the 6th century. So Advent has been observed for a while, say, 1,400 years. It is largely lost, however, in today’s secular world.
And it is a sad loss.
The widely more familiar Lenten season prepares us for the withdrawal of the adult Christ Child from the earth in human form by his passion, death, and resurrection. Bunnies, baby chicks, and new dresses for girls and jackets for boys puts Easter right in front of us.
Advent, on the other hand, not only seeks to prepare us for the Christ’s human manifestation in the humility of the manger but also His splendid and glorious Second Coming.
This dichotomy is as beautiful as it is profound.
Consider, however, that Advent goes even further. It prepares us for sustenance in that interim between the humility and the splendor. Advent considers the Christ’s present coming, the here and now, revealed by his very presence in the midst of the Church Universal.
Advent, then, is an event that brings about the coming of Christ yesterday, today, and tomorrow for the sake of our souls and our salvation. Advent brings the miracle of Christ’s earthly manifestation and His spiritual manifestation into our hearts. It reveals the human child that is born of the flesh as the Son that is given, thus making a heavenly inheritance available to us.
And its effect was prophesied by the Psalmist: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and truth have kissed each other.”
How beautiful and powerful and yet how lost!
Charles Dickens captured this theme, perhaps unwittingly, in his classic work “A Christmas Carol” with Christmas past, present, and future. In concluding that Christmas is a condition of the heart, that what matters is within and not without, he reminds us of that universal truth.
So in this season of Advent, hold the promise made, the promise revealed, and the promise to come close in your heart and you will have a very merry Christmastide for yourself and your loved ones, whether you are with them or not.
So throughout this Advent Season, let us make straight in our own spiritual deserts a highway, for our Lord.
Gary Wisenbaker (email@example.com) is a political consultant at Blackstone, LLC, and a REALTOR® at RealLiving Realty Advisors