Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Season of Advent

   The Four Sundays of Advent make up the first season of the Christian year. Advent derives from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” The season proclaims the comings of Christ.  
   The church uses these four weeks as a time to prepare for Christmas.  I believe firmly in this idea - we need to get ready for what God has in store for us on Christmas.  Not another present under the tree, not the car in the driveway with the oversized bow on top as the television commercials would have us believe - but the coming of a Savior to win us away from slavery to sin and death and back to the freedom to live.  We are preparing to celebrate once again, the birth of One who comes continually in Word and Spirit to us.
   But Advent is not only about Jesus’ birth in that manger, as if we should keep our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror of history.   It is in God’s plan that Jesus comes again, a second time.  Advent is equally about the time Jesus did come then and the time He will come again.  We celebrate the two comings of Christ.  We will spend some time in these four weeks recognizing the One whose return in final victory we anticipate. 
   Each year Advent calls the community of faith to prepare for these comings.  So worship is a little different for these weeks - because we are different.  While the world busies itself with preparations for presents or parties, the church pushes past some of that to see beyond. We want to gaze into the truth God has for us. 
   We begin worship this week by lighting candles and reading scripture.  Candles remind us that Jesus comes as light of the world - and that we too often find ourselves walking in shadows and darkness.  I believe the church is obligated to proclaim, “We need a Savior.”  Let us enter into the season of expectantly preparing for His arrival.

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