Tis the season to be jolly, trala la la ……etc! Within western Christendom the time commencing on the 4th Sunday before Christmas is often observed as Advent. Over the centuries many traditions have been enacted regarding this observance. Some of these customs include the lighting of special candles each Sunday, culminating with a large white candle on Christmas day. There are special Advent Calendars, Christmas trees, wreaths and other decorations, and carols to be sung. And of course, it is the time we spend(and spend and spend and…) eagerly awaiting Father Christmas or Santa Claus with our presents.
Within the Church, Advent is the season now commonly understood as a time of looking forward to the celebration of Christ’s birth, a time of preparation. Yet over the years it has held additional meanings. The word ‘advent’ means to look forward to, or prepare for. It comes into English from the Latin adventus, as a translation of the Greek word parousia. Parousia is usually understood as referring to the Second Coming of Christ. Advent historically was a time set aside to anticipate that coming momentous occasion, a reminder that we have not been abandoned, but Christ will return for us. We shall not be ‘Left Behind’, all shall be made right.
There is however, a third understanding of Advent that was celebrated for many centuries. This is the eager preparation and expectation of the coming of Christ in our hearts daily. What a joy to experience this divine gift! But wait! There’s more……..
“Such a shame that the word parousia has so blatantly been mistranslated over the years!
1 Thess 2:19 We expect nothing less in the context of the gospel than you enjoying a face to face encounter in the immediate presence of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is our delight and wreath of honor! (The word parousia speaks of the immediate presence of the Lord! From para, a Preposition indicating closest possible proximity; intimate connection; and eimi, I am! There is not even a hint of judgment or punishment in this word! While there are great and accurate definitions in Strongs, please do not believe everything you read there! “G3952 parousia from the Present Participle of G3918 [pareimi]; a being near, that is, advent; often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked.”!? [This is blatant nonsense!]
The word parousia occurs 24 times in the NT and 22 times it is wrongly translated as 2nd coming! Only twice it is translated as presence! 2 Cor 10:10, Phil 2:12. Of all the English translations that I have checked, only the Young’s Literal has it correct! What a shame that this word has been so dramatically twisted over the years! In the Greek Septuagint Ps 138:8 [in the Hebrew Ps 139] reads, If I make my bed in Hades, your presence already fills it! LXX – πάρειμι pareimi your immediate presence – I am!)”
Mirror Study Bible (Francois du Toit)
Thus we see that instead of waiting and preparing to be united with God, the real message is that we are already part of the Oneness with Father, Christ and Spirit. No longer do we have to strive for holiness, or beg for forgiveness, or fear damnation. If there is to be a longing for a great event, it is that we long for when all of humanity will awaken to this reality.