Parousia (par-oo-see’-ah)

By Not Known

The word advent derives from the Latin adventus, which is the translation of the Greek word parousia. The New American Standard New Testament Greek lexicon defines the latter word as “presence, the coming, arrival, the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgement, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God.”

As we enter the first Sunday of Advent, let us not overlook its importance but rather, rediscover and find meaning in it.

From the definition above, we know that the Season of Advent not only looks back to the first coming of Christ through his birth, but it also looks forward to the second coming of Christ. We trust that he will come to restore creation and establish his Kingdom forever.

Most people welcome their favourite month of December with enthusiasm as it signifies the beginning of endless shopping, parties, fun-filled activities and performances in malls. Christmas decorations along Orchard Road have already been hung up and lights lit from mid-November. Christmas trees, big “SALE” signboards in malls and even small shops in my neighbourhood beckon and entice shoppers to enter. Let all shop and celebrate!

But wait! Christmas has not arrived and now is the season for waiting and longing. Advent, as with Lent, is a time to reflect, pray and prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah. The first hymn which we sing at the beginning of the Service, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, echoes a number of prophetic themes (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23; Exo 19:16; Isa 11:1-4; Lke 1:78-79; Isa 22:22). God indeed has sent his only Son Jesus to earth more than two thousand years ago to accomplish a perfect redemption for Adam’s hopeless race.  Yet we wait with the same urgent expectancy, as did the Israelites of old, for the piercing of the clouds – His second coming, when victory over sin and death will be final.

How do we wait actively and not passively? Let us look at some advice from the following people and anticipate the arrival of Christ with joy and hope!

1.    The event of Christ is the only event in human history that promises relocation and centering, meaning and purpose. The promise and fulfilment evoke passionate and heartfelt praise and thanks, especially for those aware of their own brokenness and the healing which Christ brings into their lives. ~ Robert Webber, Worship Resources for the Local Church

2.    During this Advent season as we celebrate the new relationship between God and his people, may that be mirrored in our renewed relationships with spouses, children, family, and those near and dear to us. May we speak tenderly to each other amidst all the rush of the season and transform the shopping days till Christmas into the true Advent of Christ. ~ Casely Essamuah, Park Street Church

3.    Let’s approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush. ~ Anonymous

4.    Charity – giving to the poor – is an essential part of Christian morality…. I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Ruth Tong