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What is the true meaning of Advent and Christmas?

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

What is thd true meaning of Adveny and Christmas? An important question to consider as we enter the advent and Christmas season. The best way for me to answer this question is with a story.

As most of you are aware, 2022 was a wild year for my family. Coming out of a 2021 when we lost two babies in the second trimester of pregnancy, Megan and I hoped and prayed that 2022 would be a year when we’d regain our footing. We hoped that footing would in part be regained by a full term pregnancy and a healthy baby. If we were feeling extra hopeful, we’d included in our dreams for 2022 a healthy baby and an adoption match. As is always the case with life, we make plans and things go otherwise.

For those of you who might need a recap of the story, here’s a quick version. In early 2022, Megan and I learned that she had several genetic related traits that could be affecting her body's ability to carry a pregnancy to full term. These results gave her doctor the information he need to formulate a plan to give her body the best chance possible to carry a pregnancy to full term. With this information in hand, Megan became pregnant again and we prayed for the best. Around this same time we also received word from our adoption agency that a mom was interested in matching with us for a private adoption. After accepting the match, we faced the possibility of two newborn babies in the fall of this year. What we also faced was the possibility that we’d lose two more babies this year.

As time progressed, we ended up losing both babies. First the mom who matched with us told us she couldn’t see the adoption through until the end. And then we learned that our little baby Theodore had passed away in Megan’s womb like his brother and sister. The worst had come to pass. We’d lost both babies.

An experience like this rocks anyone’s faith. There is no doubt about it. Yet, a strong faith is like a boat, and it can withstand the biggest of waves. I wouldn’t have been able to say that before this year, but let me share with you what I had to come to terms with, even before we lost either baby. Soon after learning the news of both babies, I came to realize something important. Even if we lost both babies, God was still good.

Let me explain myself a bit. We want storybook endings. We love when the hero is vindicated, the couple falls in love, and the villain gets justice. While Hollywood is good at giving us those types of endings, life—unfortunately—is not. What I learned this year is that God is enough. Storybook endings are good, but even when things don’t end as we’d like, God is still good!

How can I say this? Because of the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. The word Advent is derived from a Latin word that means “coming or arrival.” The one coming or arriving is of course Jesus, so Advent is the season when we anticipate Jesus’ coming or arrival. There are two perspectives to this coming: past and future. Jesus did arrival in the past at his birth, which is what we celebrate Christmas morning, but he will also come again.

Jesus' birth and return point to one thing—God’s commitment to setting the broken world right. It is for this reason that I’m able to say God is good, even when my life doesn’t go as I’d like. I know that God will set all things right when his Son returns. So, Advent is a time of watching and waiting for Jesus’ first arrival, his return, and the right of all wrongs in the world.

We can say that God is good, even when bad things happen, because the true meaning of Advent and Christmas reminds us that Jesus will return and get the final word on the evil we encounter in this life. As we’ll see this advent season, this gives us hope, it is the source of our joy, it is a symbol of God’s love, and it’s a call to repent and seek God’s peace and justice. Amen!

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