Advent is a time of remembrance and expectation.
A time to glance back and look ahead. The term “advent” is from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Believers in Yeshua have observed Advent since at least the fourth century. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, they intentionally pondered Yeshua’s birth and looked forward to His return. Over time, many communities took up the practice of lighting a candle each week, symbolizing a particular theme. The most common set of themes is peace, hope, love, and joy.
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom.
One of the most well-known Hebrew words, shalom means much more than simply “hello” or an end to war and violence. Rather, shalom conveys wholeness and well-being. It reflects a holistic understanding of life and health. It is the world as it should be—with the earth, humans, and God in harmony with one another. True shalom only comes through the Messiah, who is called Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace.
Tikvah means hope.
In the Bible, hope is not wishful thinking—it is expectation, believing in something we do not see, but know will happen. Tikvah likely comes from the Hebrew word for a stretched string or cord used for measuring. Imagine two people pulling at opposite ends of a rope. The tension placed on the cord is an illustration of the tension of hope. We hope in something that we are confident will come to pass, but which we do not yet have. During Advent, we remember how the prophets hoped in the Messiah’s coming, and today, we hope in His future return.
Simcha means joy.
In Scripture, it is often used in connection with celebrating or holding a feast. It is a light-hearted word that conveys fun and delight—think of your favorite holiday, a wedding, or your best vacation. During Advent, there is immense joy knowing that the Messiah has come, and we await the even greater simcha that will fill us when He returns.
Finally, ahavah is Hebrew for love.
One of God’s greatest expressions of love for His people was becoming one of them. It is this love that brings us joy during the Advent season. Moreover, the Messiah teaches us to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The love He lavishes on us motivates us to show kindness and compassion to those around us.