Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Perils of Parousia

My son Ryan was scheduled to fly home from college today. I expected that he would arrive in Tupelo around 1:30 pm. Unfortunately, he missed his flight and has been rescheduled for a later flight. The new flight has been delayed, and now is delayed again. As I was thinking about the waiting, it reminded me of the Advent period, which seems a lot like a "waiting" of its own. 

This may seem a little complicated, but the term advent is an Anglicized form of the Latin word adventus, which means "coming".  Adventus is the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia. Parousia is a word that means "presence" or "presence after absence".  It is used in the Gospels to denote Christ's return (see Matt. 24:3). This word is actually used, for the most part, to indicate the second coming of Jesus, not his natal arrival. Technically, advent (the time of Christ's coming after an absence) is better related to Easter and lent than to Christmas. 

Since I'm having some very joyful parousia of my own today as I wait for my son and his tardy flight, the whole idea of "anticipating the coming" is on my mind. 

This December Advent of ours actually celebrates that first coming of the Presence of God. Emmanuel, God with us. How wonderful to anticipate with the knowledge that we celebrate what is historical fact and spiritual victory! Even more exciting is that every day we live as believers is a kind of Advent, a parousia, as we anticipate the "coming after an absence" of our risen Lord. 

During these last few days of our December Advent, keep in mind the more wonderful Daily Advent, our Daily Parousia, as we anticipate not only the natal arrival of Christ but also his majestic second coming!  

Hear the good news! Christ has come. Christ is risen. Christ is coming again!