I love remembering. I love preparing. I love anticipation. I think this might be why Advent is one of my very favorite seasons of the year. Christmas is great but even BETTER is GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am going to attempt to post something every day during this Advent season in the hope of blessing whoever wishes to read and perhaps we can prepare for Christmas together. But first, I thought it might be helpful to prepare for our preparation. What is Advent anyway (besides those 25 days in which we eat a nasty piece of chocolate out of a cardboard calendar in the expectation that Santa will bring us some superior candy when he arrives)? Well, I am so glad you asked. I was just dying to tell you.
The season of Advent begins four Sundays before the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25. It derives its name from the Latin term adventus. Literally: ‘coming.’ Advent is the celebration of the promise that Christ will bring an end to all that is contrary to the ways of God. The resurrection of Jesus is the first sign of this destruction of the powers of death, the inauguration, and anticipation of what is yet to come in fullness. During Advent, we are not only waiting for Christmas morning to come; we remind ourselves that we are waiting for Christ to return.
Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year, begins by pointing us to the end of time, and consequently to the aim and purpose of God’s work in his creation. Before we get to the story of the baby, we hear the story of the King. Why did God come to earth as a child? To begin the work which will be fulfilled when he comes again as ruler. The Scriptures the lectionary commends for the beginning of Advent implore us to watch and wait for we “do not know the hour.” Just as the Messiah first came at a time and in a manner that was not entirely as expected, so Christ will return at a time and in a manner, we cannot fully predict.
This watching, waiting, and longing for Christ’s return is joined together with a yearning for the Lord to bring promised justice and a plea for sinners to repent and turn to God. Just as John the Baptist cried to the people in his time to repent and make ready for the coming of the Messiah, he cries to us today. We are called to repent and be ready for Christ’s return. The words of wrath and judgment are woven together with words of hope and redemption.
The end of Advent turns from looking forward to looking back. Though Christ will return in great glory, he first came in great obscurity. The knowledge of how Christ will return to rule, reign and judge makes it even more incomprehensible that he first came to serve, to die and to take our judgment upon himself. Without the incarnation, there can be no redemption. If there is no redemption, we can only wait for the return of the Lord in fear. Yet, God did condescend to become Man. He was born of Mary; he lived, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father. Therefore we can look forward to the Lord’s return with hope.
Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross be born for me, for you.
Hail! Hail the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary!
This post was written by Nicki