Time for a new look! It’s a new Church Year. That’s right, on November 29th we begin a brand new Church Year with the First Sunday in Advent.
Advent is a time of preparation for the joyful celebration of Christmas, the Nativity of our Lord Jesus. It is one of the penitential seasons (seasons of repentant reflection). Although Advent is not as penitential as Lent, you might notice some of the changes in the worship service that reflect the nature of Advent. The Hymn of Praise “Glory to God in the Highest” is omitted. The “Alleluia and Verse” is omitted. In Advent, our liturgy is a little more reserved as we build up to the Christmas Festival.
But it is not just Christ’s first coming among us in humility that we ponder in Advent. We also consider His Second Coming in glory on the Last Day. As Christians, we are living in the constant tension between what is and what is to come. Christ came once, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, buried and risen again on the third day to win forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. When He comes again He comes as Judge of the living and the dead in order to take us who believe in Him through faith into the heavenly home He has prepared for us. As much as we look forward to Christmas, we should also be that excitedly and preparedly looking for Jesus’ coming again.
One of Advent’s themes is watchfulness. We will hear Jesus’ words in Luke 21, “And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21:29-35)
Use this holy season of Advent to better prepare yourselves for your Lord’s return. Re-commit to regularly and faithfully hearing His Word and receiving His Sacrament with your Church Family. Re-commit to reading and studying the Bible at home devotionally and in one of our Bible classes. Let the Lord fill you up with His grace, love, forgiveness, and life until that day He comes again to take you to be with Him in the glories of eternity.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, come.