Yesterday began the first Sunday in the new church year; it was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming.
I’m sure many of you have seen Advent calendars, many hold chocolates which you eat daily in anticipation of Christmas. Recently there can be found Advent calendars that have beer or wine. Despite what it is in them, the Advent calendar aims to offer a treat with our anticipation, a foretaste of the celebration that is Christmas. You may have noticed we began the service yesterday with the Advent wreath and candles, a tradition signifying the hope we possess in the anticipation of Jesus’s coming. We’ll continue lighting these candles each Sunday leading up to Christmas.
In the end, Advent celebrates two things. It celebrates the most important news about the past, and it celebrates the most important news about the future. The most important news about the past is that Christ has come. The most important news about the future is that Christ is coming back. When Christ came, God showed us everything we needed to know about the character of God, our friendship with God, how that friendship has been restored, and how we can keep it. Think back to Matthew 25 and how when we serve and love others, we serve and love Jesus.
It is said that when Christ comes again, God will deal with everything in his creation that is not yet ready to come into his glory. And so now we live in the meantime, the time in-between, the time of the already and not yet, the realm of God celebrating the life of Jesus which we live out in our service of others while we eagerly wait for the return of Jesus.
I hope and pray this Advent season is a blessed one for you and yours.