My, how that word has changed meaning for me over the years.
The word itself comes from the Latin word meaning "arrival" or "coming".
When I was a kid, the word Advent was always followed by the word calendar. And, unfortunately, back in those days, the only "arrival" I cared about was that of a portly old man with a red suit and some flying reindeer.
As I got a little older, I still viewed Advent as the "countdown" to my favorite day. But I also started to become more fascinated with the historical events that led up to Christ's birth. I started to spend more time trying to learn exactly what Mary and Joseph went through, what the real "Nativity" scene looked like, and what kind of clothes actually swaddled.
These days, now that I am wiser (cough cough) I finally appreciate Advent for what it is spiritually - a time to reflect on the amazing Gift our Father gave us on that Christmas Day, as well as a reminder to prepare for the next coming of our Savior.
To that end, I have been thinking a lot about the similarities between Christ's birth and His Second Coming.
No one knew when the Son of Man was coming the first time. They didn't know the time. They didn't know the place. They didn't even know the generation.
The truth of the matter is that the day the King of Kings was born, most people were probably going about their normal daily routines - good and bad. Worrying about money, events in town, and other worldly things.
Likewise, we don't know when Jesus will come again. Nor do we know when God will call us individually.
The best we can do is to make sure we are always prepared. Always ready. Always thinking about things important to God and the Kingdom.
Easier typed than done, of course. But at least these days, I am preparing for Jesus, instead of an imaginary man from the North Pole.