This Sunday we begin the season of Advent, which will be marked by a number of liturgical changes. The brilliant indigo hangings will be used. The lighting of the Advent wreath will usher us into expectant worship. Our Eucharistic prayer changes to remind us of the incarnation of the Son of God. Many of us will participate in daily reflections using the new Advent devotional.
The word Advent literally means “coming,” referring to the coming of Christ. The lectionary texts will point us to both of Christ’s comings, his humble and meek first coming to Bethlehem and his future second coming in great glory.
Don’t let the festivities of Christmas preparation cause you to miss the call to repentance. Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, which can help us recognize our on-going need for a Savior. Christ came the first time to rescue us from sin and death, the results of our rebellion. His second coming will manifest a truth that too often is far from our minds – that is the truth that Christ reigns as the glorious and powerful King. He is patient with us, but one day he will demand justice. The thought of his return makes mountains quake and we should too. Thus, Advent is a natural time to ask ourselves if we are ready for his return. The key to readiness starts with self-examination. Let us each prepare by asking the question, “Am I ready if Jesus returns tomorrow?” It is a gift to live in the state where your answer is “yes.” Only then can you fully sing, “Oh Come Emmanuel."