Advent—which means “arrival”—is a season of anticipation and it has been throughout church history. In our contemporary context, we immediately think of preparing our hearts for Jesus’ first Advent—his birth which we celebrate at Christmas. But in church history, this season has also been focused on preparing for Jesus’ second advent: his promised return and reign which we anticipate with great hope and joy. That is why, in many churches around the globe, traditional Scripture readings for Advent focus just as much on his return as on preparation for his birth.

In CT’s 2022 Advent devotional, The Promised One, a diverse lineup of Christian thought leaders delves into the multilayered promises and prophesies about Jesus that speak truth about his first coming—his birth in Bethlehem—and also about his Second Coming that we await. These promises drawn from Isaiah speak powerfully about who Jesus is, painting an expansive picture of Jesus’ identity and purpose.

CT recently convened four of The Promised One’s writers for a live event inspired by the devotional. The panelists, including pastors Glenn Packiam and Adriel Sanchez, bestselling author Dorena Williamson, and New Testament scholar Madison N. Pierce, expounded on what they wrote, discussed key scriptural and spiritual themes of Advent, and shared personal experiences and ideas for marking this season leading up to Christmas.

A video recording of the webinar can be found above. Hosted by CT’s print managing editor, Kelli B. Trujillo, this virtual discussion invites viewers to ponder both the joy and mystery of the Advent season. Why is waiting such a key part of spiritual formation? How do we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ promised arrival? What does “God with us” mean for the church today?

“Throughout church history, Advent has been a season of anticipation,” writes Trujillo in her introduction to The Promised One. “This Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we deeply contemplate Scripture’s promises of who he is and what he came to do.”

The Panelists

Glenn Packiam

Glenn Packiam is the Lead Pastor of Rockharbor Church in Costa Mesa, California. Glenn is the author of several books, including The Resilient Pastor, Blessed Broken Given, and the forthcoming book he co-authored with his wife, Holly, The Intentional Year: Simple Rhythms for Finding Freedom, Peace, and Purpose.

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Madison N. Pierce

Madison N. Pierce is an associate professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. She joined the Western faculty in 2022. Her research areas include the book of Hebrews, the use of Scripture in Scripture, and the Catholic Epistles. Her books include Divine Discourse in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Dorena Williamson

Dorena Williamson is a Nashville-based church planter, speaker, and bestselling author who is passionate about showing children—and adults—that differences can be curiously explored and joyfully celebrated. Using a graceful approach, her books tackle tough subjects with faith-filled storytelling that enrich young hearts and minds. Her children’s books include The Celebration Place and Brown Baby Jesus.

Kelli B. Trujillo

Kelli B. Trujillo is the print managing editor of Christianity Today and served as editor of CT’s Advent devotional for many years. She is a lay leader in a small Anglican mission in Indianapolis and the author of several books focused on spiritual formation, including The Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival and Rediscovering Lent.

Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez is the pastor of North Park Presbyterian Church (PCA). In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, he serves the broader church as a host on the Core Christianity radio program. He and his wife, Ysabel, live in San Diego with their five children.