November 29th begins the Advent season in our Church Year. The word Advent comes from the Latin ad-venio, meaning 'to come.' The call of Advent is a call to repentance, faith and holy living. If we are to meet Him who comes to us, we must repent. Christ's forerunner, John the Baptizer, "came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is He who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." (Matthew 3: 1-3)
"He is Coming!" This is the message of Advent. The One who comes to us is none other than God Himself. Advent is a season of great anticipation and tension. Not only has our God already come to us, and still comes to us in the present time through Word and Sacraments, but will reveal Himself to us also in the future at His Second Coming. Thus, Advent expresses hope and expectations for both the first and second comings of Christ.
Almighty God, heavenly Father, bestow on us Your grace that
we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the
armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which Your
Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that on the
Last Day when He will come again in His glorious Majesty to
judge both the living and the dead, we may then rise to life
immortal; through Him who lives and reigns with You and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Advent)
In this Advent Collect, we pray that God would bring us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. To help learn the lesson of Advent, the custom of the Advent wreath has been preserved. This custom comes to us from the land of Dr. Martin Luther's birth. As time passes from the First Sunday in Advent to the Eve of Christmas, the wreath glows brighter as we anticipate the Feast of the Nativity. It is then that the appearance of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, comes to lighten our darkness.
Let us all as disciples of Christ "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:17) as we await the coming of our "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
To God be the glory,