We know that Advent starts on the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year. On this first Sunday in Advent the beginning of a new church year is here. The church calendar starts on this Sunday. For the church, our year begins with the promised hope of all the world in the birth of a baby in a manger as the savior of the world.
The coming of Christ, the expectation of a holy advent, and the realization of an ancient promise is paramount in our hearts and minds.
It is written:
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
The coming of the baby Jesus is recognized and celebrated in advent. Still, the second coming of Christ “in a cloud with power and great glory” is likewise a part of our advent joy.
We sometimes get so wrapped up in all the activities and events of Christmas we forget to focus on our looking for a yet to be realized coming of Christ.
Again, we are aware that people today are more convinced than ever that the return of Christ in glory is imminent. We are ever expectant of the coming of Christ again.
We point to the question asked of Jesus about the arrival of the end times:
One of them said: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
There is a difference now from days of old. We hear the reports of disease, wars, earthquakes, famines, and calamities as they take place. We hear reports from around the world instantaneously. We know that these things are so.
What does this do to our lives? What did the expectation of the birth of the Christ child do to those in Israel when he was going to be born?
For some it was utter excitement. The savior of us all is coming. For others it was fear. What will this do to the ones with power and authority then. Herod was fiercely afraid and troubled.
We too are to be excited. We too are to be joyous in our hope of the coming again of Jesus for us.
Our lives will be shaken up. Our lives will be eternally changed in an instant. Our lives will no longer be filled with pain, suffering, or sorrow. We will be in the loving arms of our Lord!
So, look to the coming of Jesus for us in the observance of Christmas. Yet, look too to the coming of Jesus in the clouds with power and glory.
In so doing let us again participate in a truly wonderful Advent this year!