Advent does not mean ‘expectation’ as some may think. It is a translation of the Greek word ‘parousia’ which means ’presence’, or more accurately, ‘arrival’, the beginning of a presence.
His presence has already begun, and we, faithful, are the ones through whom He wishes to be present in the world.
‘The Christ child comes’ in a real sense whenever human beings act out of authentic love for the Lord.
What Christians mean in general by this word ’Advent’ , is: God is there. He has not withdrawn from the world. He has not left us alone.
This word ‘parousia’ is, however, also used in the less pleasant sense of affliction when it is associated with such concepts as trouble, famine, plaque,or illness. This word should, therefore, enable us to see that something of the beauty of Advent can be found even in difficulty. Illness and suffering can therefore, like a great joy, also be a personal Advent - a visit by God who wants to enter my life and turn toward me.
p. BENEDICT XVI
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