ADVENT AS PREPARATION
The word advent comes from the Latin word ADVENIRE, ADVENTUS meaning to come. In its past participial form taken as a noun, its exact meaning is having come—with that nuance of the past lasting up to the present. When translated by the English word arrival, however, it assumes a specifically future aspect. This would seem to betray the initial intent of the Latin derivative. Hence, the option to adopt the word advent itself to avoid time reductionism and keep the channels opens.
The time-frame at the very core of the word advent provides us with a clue to a deeper understanding of the season. The past and the future aspect of the word have to be preserved and understood to be relevant. Advent is a retrojection and projection at the same time. Christ has come already and yet continues to come to each generation, individual family, and community down the corridors of time.
In the same way that music is made possible by the tautness or the tension of the strings of an instrument, so also is Christian life made possible by this continuing healthy tension of the already and the not yet. Expressed in the early Christian eschatological prayer: MARANA THA, this advent longing for a deeper coming of the Lord qualifies our individual Christian lives by challenging and directing it.
Advent aims to impart a sense of immediacy, relevance and meaning in a world unsure of its direction and unsure of God’s sustaining hand.