Thursday, December 24, 2009

On Language: Advent

Tonight the Christian world comes to the end of the season of Advent. Advent is the four week period that many Christians use to remember the centuries-long wait for God’s promised Savior to arrive. It is also an interesting word.

Advent comes from a Latin word that simply means “to come.” It is used in English to describe any important expected arrival. That in and of itself is not so interesting perhaps, but the very same Latin word also gives us the English word “Adventure.” Adventure used to be similar to advent in English, but somewhere along the way it took on more of a hazardous meaning. It now usually means the coming of something unexpected and dangerous, and the events that happen after that hazard arrives.

We love adventure. It is exciting and thrilling; especially when we can simply observe or hear tell of some great adventure without facing any real peril. We all tend to long after adventure in our own lives as well. We want to be a part of a big story, an important event, maybe even (if we can successfully navigate it) a dangerous circumstance with high stakes.

We all long for adventure because we were all made for meaning. We are a part of a story that is bigger than ourselves. The story of Advent is truly an adventure. God set in motion in the Christmas event a risky, dangerous, and tremendously high-stakes adventure that carries on to this day with countless subplots and characters. To be human is to be a part of that adventure. Hopefully you have seen the truth in the story and are active in bringing the story closer to its exciting conclusion.

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