This week begins a four week season in the life of the church known as Advent. Advent comes to us from the Latin and simply means coming. The season of Advent is a time when we await of the coming of Christ. Since this is the season leading up to Christmas, we are commemorating the time of waiting for Jesus’ first coming which we celebrate at Christmas. In the Lectionary readings for this time of year the Old Testament readings tell of the coming Messiah.
That’s not the only coming of Christ that we await during advent, however. We are waiting for the second coming of Christ as well. The New Testament readings in the Lectionary all speak of the future return of Christ.Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 1 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 3
During Advent, I want to encourage you this year to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You can still go shopping, attend Christmas parties, and watch your favorite movies, but take some time and reflect. Take some time to recognize that we are waiting for our Lord and Savior to return. We celebrate his arrival at Christmas and the beginning of his amazing life and ministry here on earth, but the work is not done. We still live on earth struggling with the effects of sin and death. Christ is King and ruler of the universe, but his work is ongoing and will not be final until his return.
I hope that you will join me in waiting this year. Over the next few weeks, I am going to share with you what I am waiting to see finished when Christ returns for the second time.“But we are citizens of heaven, exiles on earth waiting eagerly for a Liberator, our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come and transform these humble, earthly bodies into the form of His glorious body by the same power that brings all things under His control.” 4 Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever faithful to your promises and ever close to your church: the earth rejoices in hope of the Savior’s coming and looks forward with longing to his return at the end of time. Prepare our hearts and remove the sadness that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope that his presence will bestow, for he is Lord for ever and ever. Amen. 5
1 The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1 Co 1:7. 2 2 Pe 3:10 3 1 Th 5:23 4 The Voice Bible: Step into the Story of Scripture (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), Philippians 3:20-21. 5 The Worship Sourcebook (Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2004) 430-431.