Isa. 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. (NRS)
Advent is a season of reflection. It is a time when we reflect on what God has done fulfilling His promises and the promises of His coming again. It is a reflection on how, as St. Augustine wrote:
The first coming of Christ the Lord, God’s son and our God, was in obscurity; the second will be in the sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity no one recognized him but his own servants; when he comes openly he will be known by both good people and bad. When he came in obscurity, it was to be judged; when he comes openly it will be to judge. Augustine (AD 354– 430)
Throughout the year we set a pace for ourselves. We get consumed with meeting our goals, our plans and what we think are the important things in everyday life. We hear the voice of commercialism rise to a strong crescendo during certain seasons especially around Christmas speaking to our inner desires and creating a false sense of wants. It seems that it is beginning earlier and earlier each year as companies pour out advertisements enticing us to buy someone a special item for Christmas. And the target is not always what we should give to someone because sublimely it targets what we think we want and desire. It targets us like the car commercial I saw the other day where it touts the joy of our inner child. While the person giving the gift was pleased, it was the person receiving the car that was overjoyed.
Advent however is not a time of wants and desires, it is a time of preparation. It is a time of preparation and remembering the blessing we have from God who sent Jesus so we can be in a restored relationship with Him. It is a time of restoration for our hearts to the real purpose in life and that is worshipping God for who He is and His love that has been bestowed upon us. It is about the first coming of Jesus – the hope fulfilled so many years ago and the hope we have of his returning again.
In Advent we celebrate the beginning and ending of Christ’s victory over the powers of evil, and as we call upon God to accomplish that victory in our own lives, to break in on us, to be born in our hearts through the Holy Spirit and to create us anew. Advent is the time when God breaks in on us with new surprises and touches us with a renewing and restoring power.
Advent like Lent is time of reflection about our self and our relationship with God. As we approach the celebration of His first coming, let us also celebrate with anticipation of His second coming when He will restore the world and bring those who love, worship and follow Him into a new life changing relationship with Him. Our hope is in His victory; the victory through His resurrection, the empowering of the Holy Spirit in those who believe and the victory at His second coming. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.