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The shortest prayer to help prepare for Christmas

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One phrase summarize the entire spirit of the Advent season.

Advent is a time of preparation, one in which we recall the arrival of Christ on Christmas Day over 2,000 years ago, but also look forward to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time.

One of the most ancient prayers recited during this season is also the shortest. It is found in the book of Revelation and is among the last words used in the Bible.

Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

Many scholars believe this phrase in Revelation is closely related to the Aramaic phrase maranatha, which also has been shown to have several meanings.

Biblical scholar Kenneth Bailey explains the multiple interpretations.

As often observed, this last word can be read maran atha (our Lord has come). This translation addresses the readers and affirms a reality in the present (he is here).

The two Aramaic words can also be divided to read marana tha (Our Lord-come!). This is a request addressed to the risen Lord that looks to the end of all things with the plea “Please come!”

A variant on this second option is, “Our Lord is coming.” This also looks to the future but it is a statement of fact rather than a plea, and it is not addressed to Jesus.

All three options are linguistically possible.

The word is found in various sources in the early Church and is generally thought to be from an ancient liturgy.

For these reasons the English phrase (Come, Lord Jesus!) or the Aramaic (maranatha) provide a perfect prayer for the Advent season. It affirms Jesus’ first coming at Christmas, is a prayer for his Second Coming at the end of time, and reminds us all to prepare our hearts for his coming in our own lives.

Come, Lord Jesus!

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