by Stephen Whitney

This content is part of a series.

Personal Preparation (3 of 4)
Series: Advent
Stephen Whitney
Luke 1:76-79

God punished the nation of Israel by sending them into captivity in Babylon for 70 years because of their idolatry and not keeping the Sabbath year as he had commanded them. While they were in captivity the people longed for God to send them their promised Messiah to set them free.

A Latin hymn which was written in the 1300's and was translated into English in the 1800's describes their longing and waiting.

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Advent comes from the Latin word meaning coming. It is a time of preparation and waiting for the celebration of Christmas which is practiced by many Christian churches. The Advent season starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas day on December 25.

The Latin word coming is the translation of the Greek word parousia which is commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

We prepare for those special days that important to us such as: anniversaries, birthdays and holidays like Christmas. The stores want you to spend money so they begin telling us how many more shopping days you have to shop until Christmas. We prepare for Christmas by decorating our house, a tree, buying presents, planning a family gathering and attending special events. If we take something seriously we will prepare for it.

God wanted his people to repent of their sins so they would be prepared to receive their Messiah. Richard Trench wrote, ''Repentance is that mighty change of mind, heart, and life, wrought by the Spirit of God.'' Context Zechariah after praising God for his faithfuln ...

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