Advent is a time of waiting and expectation; a season of quiet anticipation and
preparation. We are waiting for our Lord to come into the world as the baby
Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We are also preparing for His
return, His second coming as the shepherd-king, to restore harmony and right
relationship to all creation. Advent is a season yearning for God to come and set
the world right with perfect justice, truth and peace. It is a season of hope.
Advent is a time to emphasize preparation through prayer. While Lent
emphasizes a spirit of repentance through prayer and fasting, Advent’s prayers
are prayers of humble devotion and commitment, prayers for deliverance,
prayers of gladness and joyful expectation, prayers that await the light of Christ
coming into the world.
We do not shrink from those Advent scripture readings that reveal a strong
prophetic tone of accountability and judgment. Christ’s disciples expect the Lord
to hold them accountable for what has been entrusted to them just as a spouse,
parent, teacher or supervisor holds us accountable. And just as the steward was
found faithful in small matters by the master, we too are confident that we will
be found faithful and will enter the joy of the Master. We have absolute trust in
the Lord’s countenance.
Assuredly, during Advent we anticipate the Lord’s coming with hope. It is
that hope, however faint at times, that keeps us from despair and the darkness
of sin and its destructiveness. It is a hope that urges us to be kind, loving and
compassionate toward one another. It is a hope that encourages our faith in a
merciful God who continues to pour His grace upon us.
We don’t know when Christ will come again to bring human history to its
completion. But we celebrate with gladness the great promise of Advent and
we rekindle that positive, joyful spirit within us because we know, as Zechariah
prophesied, that the light of Christ will shine on all who sit in darkness and the
shadow of death, and He will guide our feet into the way of peace.