Advent is Here!

December 3, 2017

Each new Liturgical Year begins with the season of Advent.  Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means ‘coming,’ ‘beginning’ or ‘arrival.’ It is a new beginning for the church, and we prepare in joyful anticipation of His coming.

In our secular society, it is also when Christmas decorations, shopping and parties are in full swing.  Naturally, people want to see Christmas decorations appearing in churches during this season.

However, Advent is the anticipation of our Savior’s arrival.  This is the time to prepare our hearts and our minds to receive Christ.  To clean house, so to speak, to make the necessary changes so that we are ready when the Bridegroom arrives.  If we spend Advent focusing only on Christmas, we miss something very important.

Why is Christmas joyful?

Christmas is more than joyful, it is extraordinarily joyful!  After the fall of Adam and Eve, God’s promise of our       salvation is finally fulfilled with the Birth of a Savior,  Jesus, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:15).  This Good News of our human salvation was announced by the angels to the shepherds in the field at Jesus’ birth.

When we look forward to something good coming, it is usually because the present condition is bad!  What a beautiful and heartfelt outpouring from the lips of the Prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading.  Isaiah recognized the misery of the people of Israel without God’s presence.  He pleaded to God that He return to His Chosen People and restore the peace and security shone to their forefathers when God manifested His Almighty power in their sights.  This was the joy Isaiah longed for instead of the miserable condition of his people in exile.

This is what the Advent Season is all about.  We long for the joy of the coming of Christ because we recognize that without our Savior, we are not truly happy. When we become consumed with shopping, holiday parties, and the bright lights of Christmas during Advent, we fail to recognize our present condition, leading to an ordinary Christmas without the extraordinary joy! 

The coming of our Savior indeed brings great joy to the waiting world.  It is our task to cultivate a heart longing for his arrival, so we can truly experience the extraordinary joy of Christmas.

 

 

Rhiannon Jensen