I know we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet and I’m talking about Advent. However, the season of Advent is fast approaching. In fact, this Sunday the 29th, will be the first Sunday in Advent. So you’ll have to shake off your tryptophan-induced haze by Sunday! I commented to someone the other day when we were talking about liturgical colors changing that the purple seasons (Advent and Lent) are my favorite in the church year. Of course I appreciate the other seasons of the church calendar but Advent and Lent are special because of the emphasis on hope, expectation, and preparation (and incarnation – more that later). While Lent is characterized by fasting and a spirit of penitence, Advent’s prayers are prayers of humble devotion and commitment, prayers of submission, prayers for deliverance, prayers from those walking in darkness who are awaiting and anticipating a great light (Isaiah 9 and John 9)!
Advent comes from the Latin word “Adventus” and means “coming.” A better way to describe Advent is to say it is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of our King into the world. In the season of Advent we celebrate the birth of our savior while also looking forward to his return. My appreciation for Advent, then, is far more than pretty colors and lighting the Advent wreath (though those are important traditions). Advent celebrates a foundational truth about God; that he came to earth as a human to reconcile all of creation to God. As Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae states, “He (Christ) is the perfect image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15).” Advent is a process in which we now participate, the consummation of which we anticipate in the second coming.
So, we celebrate with gladness the great promise in Advent and stand halfway across on the bridge between God’s first and second coming. May this season of Advent be a blessing to you. That you might experience the grace of God’s gift of the Christ child.