With the coming of the Advent season we begin a new year in the life of God’s people. Advent, as the name suggests in its Latin meaning, is a season where we watch for the coming of God’s promised messiah Jesus. While this watching might first lead our thoughts to the baby to be born on Christmas in Bethlehem, there are other aspects of the coming of God that we also watch for with renewed hope during this season. The Greek word for Advent is parousia - a word not
referring to the first coming of Christ, but to his promised second coming in power and great glory. And so also we watch in thanksgiving for where God’s Kingdom is already being made manifest in the hearts and lives of God’s people through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
A new year allows for a new start, so it has been customary for Christians to use the Advent season as a season of reflection, repentance, and preparation. What is done is done. What is past is past. We give thanks for our many blessing, we make reconciliation where that is needed, and we now look again with a renewed hope in the coming of God who has and who will again dwell among us.
A few thoughts on your participation in a holy Advent:
Prepare for the gift of God’s son by giving the gift of yourself. Who are some people in your community who need to know and experience God’s love for them, and how can you be the bearer of that love?
As God came to us as a powerless infant, expressing great humility and emptying himself for the
sake of all, how can you experience and express your own humility? What privileges or rights, or use of resources and riches can you forgo for the sake of others during Advent as your own participation in God’s great act of humility?
Greater watchfulness requires putting away distractions during a season when sights and sounds and the call of commercialism and materialism are louder than ever. What busyness can you let go, what noise can you silence? Turn off the social media, take out the ear buds. Turn off the television and spend some time each day looking and listening - indeed, using all the senses - for signs of God’s Kingdom present and yet to come.
God bless you with a holy Advent,