Seeing all the advent calendars in the shops got me thinking about the term ‘Advent’. Many may just see it as a means of counting down to Christmas day, but the name comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’ which means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’ and refers to the birth (or arrival) of Jesus into the world over 2000 years ago. Excitingly, the Bible teaches us that there will be a second advent (or coming) of Jesus back to the earth from heaven. When Jesus ascended to heaven after his death, his disciples were told by angels: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1v11, NIV) Jesus will return to set up an everlasting kingdom on the earth, over which he will reign in righteousness, and those who have faithfully prepared themselves, watching and waiting for his second advent, will be blessed with a place in that glorious kingdom. But how will we know when he is coming? Jesus’ disciples asked him this same question – “Tell us… what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24v3) Jesus responded first by describing the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 and then gave a very special sign – ‘Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles [non-Jews] until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’ (Matthew 24v24) This came partly true in 1948 and more so in 1967 - Jerusalem was back in the hands of Israel. Following these things, Jesus warned of turbulent times ahead and said “Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Matthew 24 v 26-28) The world is very fearful of what is coming on the earth, climate change being just one fear. Faithful Bible believers are called to ‘lift up our heads’ because the signs show Christ’s second advent is very, very near! Let us prepare our hearts and minds to be ready for Jesus’ arrival.

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