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Photo by Lennon Caranzo on Unsplash

By Stephen Beale, Catholic Exchange, Dec. 1, 2021

Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism. He is a former news editor at and was a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he covered the 2008 presidential primary.

Advent, from the Latin adventus, does not simply meaning coming or arrival.

There are at least two other Latin words that could be translated this way, not counting several interjections. So why did the early Church go with the term adventus to describe the period leading up to Christmas?

In the Latin, the word had an intriguing range of meanings. Adventus is a form of the verb advenio which is defined not only as arrivecome to, but also as developset in, and ariseAdventus itself also refers to an invasion, incursionripening, and appearance—all denotations that are rich with implications for the gospel accounts of Christ.

The relationship between adventus and military comings is especially noteworthy. …

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