The Arrival of Advent

by Phil Baker

If you watch a documentary, you might hear a line like this…

“With the advent of the telephone, people could talk to loved ones miles away.”

 

“With the advent of the automobile, people no longer had to live in the city but could drive to their job from suburban communities.”

or

“With the advent of the airplane, people could travel great distances in a matter of hours.”

In instances like these, the word advent is casually used to gloss over the arrival of an invention that greatly altered the course of history. That’s all it means – arrival. You could just as easily say “With the arrival of the telephone, automobile or airplane…”

This time of year we like to pluck the word advent out of obscurity, dust it off and hoist it high into liturgical tradition. But it still just means arrival. And it actually signals more than just an arrival. It’s an arrival that changes things. Just as the telephone, automobile and airplane radically changed the world we live in, Jesus’ birth radically changed the world. And the funny thing is, we almost missed it. He didn’t burst onto the scene in a blaze of glory. He was born in a quiet little corner of the world. Only a few wise men and a handful of shepherds took notice. Surprising since we’d been looking for and expecting the Savior for hundreds of years before. Unlike the telephone, automobile and airplane which were inventions we didn’t see coming, the Christ had been necessitated and prophesied about all throughout the Old Testament.

It’s surprisingly easy to overlook world-changing events. We look so hard for what we think we should be expecting that our happiness, our purpose or even our salvation slips right past us. The countdown to Christmas begins earlier each year. Some people start on Thanksgiving. Others on Halloween. Some will even start counting down the day after Christmas! Why? What are we counting down to? We look forward to that one day when the whole family is under one roof. But I find that Christmas is not just a day. It’s a season. Christmas isn’t coming. It’s already here! Christmas music is playing on the radio. Christmas trees are up. Lights are on houses. For all intents and purposes Christmas is here! Ignore the countdown clocks. There’s nothing special about December 25th that can’t be enjoyed right now.

So don’t wait for Christmas day. Call that family member. Christmas is here!

Knock on your neighbor’s door. Christmas is here!

Enjoy time with friends. Christmas is here!

As we enter this Advent season, what are you expecting the arrival of? Could it be that that thing is already here? Is it (or something better) right under your nose? Don’t be so focused on the future that you forsake the present. Take a moment to look around. It could radically change your world!