First week of Advent, 2009
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. The word Advent is from the Latin adventus (parousia in Greek) for “coming” or “arrival”, and we focus on Jesus’ past, present, and future presence.
* History: Jesus was a real person born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago ~ that was His first Advent.
* Mystery: Jesus is always with us through the gift of grace. Grace is a sharing in God’s own life and love that we cannot understand but believe in through faith.
* Majesty: Christ will come again—the Second Advent—in glory at the end of time.
Our worship, scripture readings, and prayers not only prepare us spiritually for Christmas (His first advent), but also for His eventual second advent. This is why the Scripture readings during Advent include both Old Testament passages related to the expected Messiah, and New Testament passages concerning Jesus’ second coming as judge of all people. Also, passages about John the Baptist, the precursor who prepared the way for the Messiah, are read.
(i.e. Isaiah 2:1-5,7:10-14, Jeremiah 33:14-16, Zephaniah 3:14-18, Micah 5:2-5a, Matthew 24:37-44, Romans 13:11-14)
Our celebration of Advent is a lovely time for us as a family to focus on feelings of exile, expectation, preparation, hope, anticipation, longing ~ things that certainly are near to us right now. We are waiting for the Lord. It makes Advent very real, very personal, extra meaningful to us right now.
Advent is a season of preparation, but we need to ask ourselves, “what are we preparing for?“
Advent is a season of expectation, but we need to ask ourselves, “what are we expecting?“
Advent is a season of hope, but we need to ask ourselves, “for what and whom do we hope?“
Did you know that Advent is not part of the Christmas season itself? Advent is a season prior to Christmas. The Christmas season begins (according to the Church calendar) with Christmas, and concludes with Epiphany. That is where the 12 days of Christmas originated. Pretty nifty, eh? 🙂 Christmas is not meant to be a single isolated day, but a feasting festival of the Incarnation in the midst of the Church year. Christmas is perhaps best understood after having the preparation of Advent. Advent provides an opportunity to continually re-orient ourselves to God’s will as we expectantly wait with patriarchs, prophets, and kings for the true meaning of Christmas: the Incarnation of God the Son. As the church celebrates God’s inbreaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which “all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption,” it also confesses its own responsibility as a people commissioned to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Two links for your perusal:
one with practical information, readings, references, ideas, and inspiration
another with Luther’s flair, as selections from his sermons focus on the seasons of Advent and Christmas
God bless you all during this first week of Advent.
Long, expect, prepare, hope ~ anticipate the coming of Christ.