First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, where we remember Christ’s first coming and look ahead with hope to His second coming.

As we were reading Scriptures and singing hymns for this first day of this Advent season in church today, I was overcome with the idea of death in Advent. Maybe that seems backwards to you. We tend to think of life and birth associated with Advent — the anticipation of life and birth, at least. Personally, I don’t think of death in Advent as naturally.

But why did Jesus come? He came to die.
Why did God give life to His Son? So He could experience death.
He came and lived in order to die in order to vanquish death.
He experienced life & death so that we may experience life eternal.
And how does that happen? By overcoming death.
The Advent season is the beginning of death. Advent leads to the vanquishing of Death.
Life happens so that death may happen so that true life may follow resurrection.

As death is so heavy on my heart and burdening my shoulders, it is comforting to see the theme of death in Advent in this way. To see that even Advent includes the theme of death. That Advent is not apart from death, but that death is somehow actually a part of Advent. They are connected. They are both part of God’s story.

From the Father forth He came
And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell
High the song of triumph swell!

~from “Savior of the Nations, Come”

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

~from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

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