Sunday, November 28, marks the beginning of Advent, the first season of the Christian year, which lasts four weeks leading up to Christmas. The season often ends up being a frantic time of busyness, shopping, and general running around, but it is meant to be something quite different. Christians have engaged this season as a time of preparation, fasting, and anticipation dating back to the 5th century. During these weeks, the Church corporately anticipates the celebration of Christ’s first coming and prepares for His coming again. While Advent is often treated like a countdown to Christmas, it is actually much more than that.
We all unavoidably feel the weight of the world, the brokenness and groaning under the burden of sin. We long for resolution, justice, and peace. We mourn friends and family members who pass away. The daily news is full of the tragedies of the world. But that is not the whole story. Justice is coming. Peace is coming. Redemption is coming. Jesus is coming. For those who are in Christ, this is our unshakable hope. It is not an empty hope. In Advent we look both backwards and forwards. Back at Christ coming as testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness. Can you believe it? The Son of God took on flesh to come to us, to rescue us. And forward to Christ’s promised return. The One who came to us is faithful. He will come again!
This is the heart of Advent. It gives us hope and demands that we prepare. Since the Ascension, the Church has lived with the question, “Could this be the day?” We don’t know the day or the hour, so we’re forced to prepare each day. If today is the day, am I ready for His return? For those who are ready, Jesus’ return will be cause for joy and celebration. For all others, it will be fearful and distressing.
So in this season, let us fast, pray, and examine our hearts that we would be filled with hope as we look to the Lord’s return. When He came into the world the first time, He gave us life, and He is coming again to restore all things. Let us look to Him. He is our hope!
Click here for suggestions from Anglican Compass on how to engage during Advent.