Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Advent 

Well, the season of Advent is here once again! Of all the liturgical seasons of the year, for me, Advent is certainly the most stressful, and it may be the most confusing.  We often seem to have a good grasp of Christmas, Lent, and Easter. But what is the deeper meaning of Advent? And how can understanding this season help us better prepare for Christmas?

In the Bible study Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Advent, I tried to show how a deeper understanding of the biblical prophecies of the Messiah can help unlock the hidden meanings of the season. It covers topics like:

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for Advent (Years A-C): The entire Bible study revolves around the Sunday lectionary readings for this season, which are (in my humble opinion) some of the richest and most fascinating passages in the Bible.

(NOTE TO PREACHERS: if you're preaching homilies for the Lectionary, the Bible study goes into readings from all three years, so that it can be useful for Advent preaching any year.)

The Second Advent of Christ: What will happen at the end of time? Why does Advent begin with end-time prophecies about the Tribulation, the Final Judgment, and the second coming of Christ?

Biblical Prophecies of the Messiah: How do we know that Jesus is really the Messiah and not just one more religious leader? What are the most important Old Testament prophecies about the first “coming” of the Messiah?

The Mystery of John the Baptist: Who was John the Baptist? Why did Jesus call him the greatest of all the prophets, and why does the Church spend so much time on him during the Advent season?

The Jesse Tree: What are the biblical roots of the Advent custom of the Jesse tree? Where does this tree come from in the Jewish Bible?

The Virgin Birth: Why was Jesus born of a Virgin? What should we say to those who are skeptical about this great miracle? And what does it mean for our lives as Christians?

And lots of other stuff. If you're preparing for Christmas and would like to dig deeper into the biblical roots of Advent, consider checking it out.

Have a blessed Advent.

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