Advent is a time of preparation, beginning four Sundays before Christmas. The word comes from the Latin adventus, which means coming or arrival. Similar to the Lenten season, which prepares us for Resurrection Sunday, Advent is a season of reflection and longing for the coming King. As our awareness for the first coming of Christ is heightened, our longing and expectation for his second advent increases as well. The great proclamation “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14) assures us that God has entered into human history through the incarnation of the Son. The season of Advent, a season of waiting, is designed to cultivate our awareness of God’s actions—past, present, and future. In this season, we hear the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming as addressed to us—people who wait for the second coming. Our sense of anticipation is heightened as we look for the day when the lion will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away. In this way Advent highlights for us the larger story of God’s redemptive plan. A deliberate tension must be built into our practice of the Advent season. Christ has come, and yet not all things have reached completion. So we remember the longing of Israel, we give thanks for Christ’s birth, and we anticipate his return. For this reason, Advent began as a penitential season, a time for discipline and intentional repentance in the confident expectation and hope of Christ’s coming again. Throughout the centuries, the Church has adopted many themes by dwelling on a specific idea during each week. We will use perhaps the most common theme by focusing on hope, peace, joy, and love. We pray that when Christmas Day arrives and you are finished with this devotional, you will join with the early Church with the word, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!