Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

The shortest prayer to help prepare for Christmas



Philip Kosloski - published on 12/05/17

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!


Read more:
A daily prayer to stay focused on the “reason for the season”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Zelda Caldwell
Did Jesus wear “tefillin” as some observant Jews do t...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.