While our culture rushes noisily toward Christmas, Advent invites us to slow down, quiet down, that we may savor this season of preparation and enter more deeply into the Christmas mystery of God with us in Christ.
“Advent” means “coming” and “arrival” and focuses our attention on the three comings of Jesus the Christ:
Once, in the past, a baby born in Bethlehem, sign of God’s kingdom of justice and peace breaking into an aching world;
Once again, at the end of all time, the risen Christ bringing God’s kingdom of justice and peace to fulfillment;
Daily, in each present moment, in friend and stranger, in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of everyday life, in the church gathered for worship, in justice and peace-making actions of faithful people throughout the world.
In the midst of holiday bustle and extravagance, the Advent church looks with yearning and expectation not only to this year’s Christmas feast but also to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purpose in Jesus.
The Christmas Mystery of God with us in Christ.
The Christmas Feast, the Church’s celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, is an evening and a day. For our culture, which has been celebrating its own form of Christmas for over a month, the end of that holiday has come.
But for the Church, Christmas Eve and Day are just the beginning of a twelve day celebration: twelve days of thanksgiving for that first, astonishing coming of God among us in the unlikely form of a homeless, vulnerable peasant baby, Jesus. Twelve days of gratitude for all that event means for us now, in the present, and for the future. The wondrous gift is given!
In that gift, all our hope is founded, all our life is grounded. God’s justice and peace, born into the world in a particular long-ago time and place in a particular child, are ever and everywhere present and active among us now in the risen and living Christ. God’s kingdom is coming into being within us and among us, sometimes hidden, sometimes revealed.
Join us in Advent and Christmas as we celebrate the wondrous gift!