“The Advent That Remains Eternally”
Rt. Rev. Dr. Vince McLaughlin
Gloriously we are in the midst of the Advent Season celebration of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity coming into this world. We remember the awesomeness and unfathomableness of God becoming Incarnate in human form to provide redemption for a fallen humanity (Philippines 2:5-11). In this celebration of the First Advent we also wait with anticipatory excitement for His Glorious Second Advent.
As you know, the word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Many scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s Incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1), His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and His first miracle at Cana (John 2:1). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.
By about the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but His second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.
Recently a dear braether of mine in Christ had mentioned that he was listening to one of my favorite troubadours of Christ name John Michael Talbot who noted that the Second Advent is in actuality the Third Advent since the Second Advent was the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Jesus Christ had promised His disciples that He would never leave them nor forsake them (Matt. 28:20). He promised that He would ask the Father to send “Another Comforter – allos parakletos” just like Him (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7). Parakletos properly means “one called to the side of another”; the word carries a secondary notion concerning the purpose of the calling alongside: to counsel or support the one who needs it. This Counselor, or Paraclete, is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity who has been “called to our side.” He is a personal being, and He indwells every believer.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus had guided, guarded, and taught His disciples; but now, in John 14—16, He is preparing to leave them. He promises that the Spirit of God would come to the disciples and dwell in them, taking the place of their Master's physical presence. As noted, Jesus called the Spirit “another Comforter”—another of the same kind. The Spirit of God is not different from the Son of God in essence, for both are God.
As you know, the Holy Spirit had figured prominently in the First Advent as He come upon Holy Mother Mary overshadowing her with His power in conception of the Holy Child. The Holy Spirit came upon and filled Zachariah and Elizabeth. The Holy Spirit indwelt and filled John the Baptist empowering him for the ministry of preparing the way for the Holy One of God.
As we celebrate the season of Advent, the Holy Spirit must figure prominently in those celebrations. The joyful reality of “I will never leave you nor forsake you” is seen in the fact that HE has taken up residence within us (Ephesians 3:14-21).
The celebration of Advent has so many facets of jubilation. So let us celebrate as we await His return!