Greetings Saints and friends
Welcome to the season of Advent and our Advent Bible Moment series.
What is Advent? The word Advent is derived from the Latin Adventus, which means ‘coming’ and the Latin word Adventus is a translation of the Greek word Parousia which means second coming. The Advent season lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day and symbolizes the commemorative waiting for Christ’s birth as well for his final return. It is undoubtedly the most exciting ecclesiastical season as a careful observance of the assigned gospel readings help us to focus on particular themes as Christ’s Advent draws nearer and nearer.
For example, there are themes of expectation and preparation in the forms of signs in the celestial bodies, signs on the earth and in the seas that will precede the coming of Jesus Christ in power and great glory. Then there is the theme of repentance using metaphors of constructing a straight road through the wilderness where property values and vested interests do not prohibit. Mountains and hills gouged through by bulldozer cutting concrete tracks. Valleys upgraded into highways connecting cities of hill and plain – to describe the spiritual, social and ethical preparation needed for the Messiah’s coming as well as the changes Messiah’s arrival would bring about. There is also the theme of judgment through the metaphors of harvesting and winnowing, gathering into granary and burning of chaff, axe for the cutting down of unfruitful trees. And finally, the themes of hope and joy as seen in the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth – one of the most poignant scenes of the Advent drama…a foetus leaping for joy, an expectant mother filled with the Holy Spirit and becoming ecstatic and Mary’s Magnificat as both women and their unborn babies magnify the Lord (big up God) for his faithfulness and his favour towards humble people.
So Advent stands as the balancing point of the pendulum between Christ first coming and His second coming. The season helps us to make the juxtaposition between the humble way of the incarnation whereby the Eternal Life-giver was stabled with the ox and the expectation of the glorious appearance of His second coming from where he is now seated at the right hand of God.
It is no wonder that the ecclesiastical year begins on Advent Sunday. The solemn character of the season is marked by the liturgical use of purple except on the third Sunday, when rose-coloured vestments may be used. The Advent wreath with four candles follows the same pattern of a rose coloured candle for the third Sunday. The candles represent the following themes for each week of Advent HOPE, LOVE, JOY and PEACE. In addition, there is one white candle in the centre of the wreath that represents Christ. This is lit on Christmas Day to remind us of the light and life Christ advent brings to the world. Nativity scenes, pageants, services of readings and carols continue to keep us hopeful and expectant as we commemorate his first coming in humility and look forward to his coming again as judge on the last day.
We invite you to join us by sharing in our Advent Bible Moment series and we pray for a hopeful, loving, peaceful and joy-filled season
Let us pray
Lord as we come to another Advent season raise up again voices that will cry of the discontent, injustice, violence, corruption, in our cities of man hewn rocks in near array, and of our towns and communities where the nose of creatures is constantly interrupting our solitude. Voices… that will preach repentance and practice what they preach. Bring out again hordes of human beings to hear the good news so that they are made straight again as their own hills and mountains of material expectations, of achievements, social engineering and hopes of upward mobility, pride and prejudice are levelled to align with your holy standards. Bring out people to hear the good news so that people are made whole again as their own valleys of despair, despondence, emptiness, hopelessness, fear of failure, fear of the future and depression be raised to higher elevations befitting the saints of Christ
Help us all to watch and wait praying, “Even so come Lord Jesus. Come for humanity. Come for me.”
Contributed by Rev Annett Brown