Season of Advent
Hey, check your calendar, it’s cyber Monday! No, wait, check the Church calendar…it’s the feast of St Andrew! The reality for Americans is that much of our life is ordered by consumerism. Thanksgiving, according to Verizon, is also known as ‘Thanksgetting’ because there are smok’n hot deals out there that you won’t want to miss! Oh come on, help out the economy would ya?
All these things are that which entangle and hinder us from keeping our eyes on Christ and running the race set before us with perseverance. The season of Advent began this past Sunday, the last Sunday in November. It is one of two penitential (think humility and repentance) seasons that make up the Church calendar (the other being the season of Lent). Advent answers the question, ‘how should we prepare for the coming of the Lord’? John the Baptist, the prophet sent to prepare the way of the Lord, provides a clear answer in Matthew, chapter 3: repent! And so the people went out to him to confess their sins and be baptized with water.
If John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord, why are we repeating the mission? John the Baptist prepared for the first coming of the Lord. We are preparing for his second coming. This preparation amounts to turning away from that which hinders us from the full pursuit of Christ and His Kingdom. Let me give an honest example. If the Lord returns and I’m found in my office looking at cars on the internet that I know I’m not going to buy…I’d be quick to say that if he came 10 minutes earlier I would have been reading my Bible, or a book about the Bible, or teaching students about the Bible. In short, I’d regret that he found me doing what I was doing upon his return. A new car is of no value when the King of Kings returns to gather His own and bring perfect justice to the world.
Dear friends, are you ready? In Luke’s gospel, chapter 18, Jesus is talking with his disciples about his return. The context is fascinating. The elect, the people of God, are begging the Righteous Judge to return and avenge their oppression. Jesus assures them of the imminent coming of the Righteous Judge, and then asks, ”Nevertheless, when the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?”
Can you add your voice to the cry of God’s people, “Come, Lord Jesus!”? This is why the Church saw fit to have seasons of preparation. No, not for Christmas dinner, but for the wedding supper of the Lamb!
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (John the Baptist) – Matt 3:2