This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, a season of hopeful preparation for and expectation of Jesus Christ’s coming. Advent is an ancient Christian tradition and, for most faith communities, it begins the church year with distinctive scriptures, music, and practices to prepare for Jesus’ birth, as well as the hope of Jesus Christ’s impending second coming. The term Advent derives from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” The Latin adventus is translated from the Greek term parousia, which is often used when speaking of Christ’s second coming. This season is characterized by deep hope as the church and the world await the unfolding of God’s promises.
Today’s passage includes several references to events that foretell Christ’s second coming. They create a seemingly detailed account of history both past and future. While scripture consistently refers to similar events and themes, its purpose is not to provide a chronology of God’s actions but rather a narrative of God’s desire to be in relationship with creation for its salvation. Scripture demonstrates the character of God.
This week we read of God’s character, including God’s promise-keeping, steadfast love, and forgiveness. God’s character and actions in Jesus Christ, both the nativity at Christmas and eventual second coming, invite us and all God’s creation into saving relationship and participation in God’s reign. These verses suggest an Advent posture: “Stand up and raise your heads.” Our “redemption is drawing near.”
Reflect upon the many promises God keeps in relationship with us and all creation—and in prayer, give thanks to God.
As we prepare our hearts for Advent, the celebration of Jesus’ first coming, we remember in Jeremiah that the birth of Jesus has a deep background, a background rooted in God’s promise to David. Psalm 25, traditionally credited to David, speaks of God’s faithfulness to those who follow the paths of the Lord. David asks God to teach him to follow God’s paths even more closely. The New Testament readings actually point us toward Jesus’ second coming. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to excel in holiness and love while they wait. In Luke, Jesus discusses the coming of the kingdom in a passage that some find confusing. We note that he focuses not on the exact time frame of the arrival of the kingdom but on our need to be alert.
• Read Jeremiah 33:14-16. What has been your experience with a promise-making and promise-keeping God?
• Read Psalm 25:1-10. How do you perceive God’s instruction in your life?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. How has God’s presence buoyed you up in times of persecution or distress?
• Read Luke 21:25-36. What is your Advent posture this year? If “believing is seeing” were true in your life, what would you see?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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