Advent, the title of the liturgical season of four Sundays leading up to the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, is a period to prepared oneself inwardly to do two things (1) look forward in time to the last day when, as the Christian tradition states, “Christ will come again.” (2) Prepare inwardly for the birth of the Christ child. – ‘makeroom in the manger of your heart’.
Biblically, there are two ways to look at the ‘end times’. The ‘End Times’ are either the days of God’s victory over the powers of evil and death following a cosmic battle and judgment OR as a day when the creative process instituted by God in the beginning finally culminates in an era of completeness, wholeness and shalom. (True peace, social justice, human fulfillment, appreciative co-existence).
Question: What is your image of the ‘Last Day”?
A) If Jesus returned today and looked around where would he find satisfaction in the world/in the church/in your life? (b) Where might He pass judgment?
B) If the world evolved to the day of perfection under Christ, what might the world/you look like?
+READ ZEPHANIAH 3:14-20, GOOD SOUL FOOD
Did you know that the present season of Advent was established in the Western Church in the 6th century? In the Eastern Church Advent starts in mid November. (16 Episcopal Churches in the US are experimenting with the longer observance this year.)
Personal Spiritual preparation for Messiah’s birth-
+ Messiah is a Hebrew term from the word ‘anointed’ as in appointed by God directly. I Samuel 10:1 (direct appointment by God). II Samuel 22:51. Psalm 89:35ff). ‘established forever’.
+Ezek 34:23, 37:24 / A Davidic descendent after exile Zechariah 4:6-10.
+ Christian New Testament – Looks to the coming Messiah Mt.2:4-6, Lk.2:11, Luke 1:32-33, Birth narratives link Jesus to David/Anointed/Messiah
+At baptism Mk 1:11
+Public ministry – His Messiah ship recognized by Luke 4:4. (What does this tell us about mainstream human blindness to grace/divinity?
+Acknowledged finally if not fully in Mk 8:30 + finally in Mk. 16:20.
+Post Resurrection- Luke 24:26ff ---- St. John sees divinity early Jn 4:26
+READ ISAIAH 58:6-12 WHAT DO THESE BIBLICAL VISIONS TELL YOU ABOUT THE HEART OF GOD? How might you respond throughout your day?
Good quotes for Advent and expectation – “The world is too big for anything but Truth and too small for anything but LOVE.” (I don’t know who said it but it sure rings true.)
Many say Jesus is the reason for the season but I think it goes deeper. What was His reason to seek us out in the universe and dwell among us? Was it not to inspire our creativity and compassion while saving us from our destructiveness? Was it not to show the way to quench our darkness and open us to light and fullness of life here and now as well as eternally?
+Here are some passages to read and inwardly digest leading up to Christmas – Luke 2:1-20, John 1:1-18, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:2-6, Matthew 1:18-25, Romans 5:1, Luke 1:39-45.
‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…’ Thanks be to God! Merry Christmas!