We have begun a new year in the church! Advent begins the church year anew, and, through its themes and assigned lectionary Scriptures, situates us between Advents. We are reminded that we are living between the first Advent - the birth of Jesus Christ - and the second Advent - his coming again in glory. This is the fundamental orientation of the Advent season, and it asks us to evaluate and live our lives in the light of the truth and veracity of these two events.
I want to just briefly highlight a few Advent imperatives:
1) Advent compels us to be people of waiting and anticipation. Advent stands in stark contrast to the world around us at this time of the year, when everyone is busy, rushing from this activity to the next, purchasing this and that. Advent reminds us that we need to spiritually prepare ourselves for Jesus Christ's presence in our lives.
2) Advent assists us in understanding the whole story of the Messiah's coming. During the four weeks preceding Christmas, we hear portions of the story that point us to the promise of the Messiah and give us context for Jesus' incarnation. We need to hear from the prophets, from John the Baptist, from Mary, Elizabeth, and more, in order to truly grasp what happened in the stable in Bethlehem.
3) Advent is a time to focus on spiritual discipline. Both Advent and Lent are good times to focus on our own spiritual growth and development. These seasons are opportunities to grow closer to God as we wait on his movement in our own lives.
May this Advent be a time of renewal for you, as we look to his birth and look forward to his return!