Because you sent your beloved Son to redeem us from sin and death, and to make us heirs in him of everlasting life; that when he shall come again in power and great triumph to judge the world, we may without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing.
Book of Common Prayer, 378
Advent is the first season of the church year, beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continuing through the day before Christmas. The name is derived from a Latin word for “coming.” The season is a time of preparation and expectation for the coming celebration of our Lord’s nativity, and for the final coming of Christ “in power and glory.”
Advent is a season of waiting and expectation. In the waiting, we prepare ourselves to welcome Christ in our hearts and minds – to experience Jesus in new and transformational ways. We wait with great expectation – for the celebration that Jesus has already come and in the hope and promise that Jesus will come again to restore all things and to be fully present with us for eternity.
This Advent, we have a choice – to wait for Christmas or wait for Christ. Checking off the days on the calendar will not bring us any closer to God. Getting caught up in the culture expectations of gifts, decorations, and parties, we may rush through this holy season of waiting and expectation and miss the true meaning. As we wait for Christ, we can center ourselves on God, seeking to grow in Christ while acting to help others. We can spend time with someone who is grieving – simply giving of our time to listen. We can invite the lonely or displaced to join us for a meal and fellowship. We can provide for the homeless, the poor, and the lost. We can think less of our own desires and expectations, and open our hearts to the needs of others. We do have a choice this Advent. We can prepare for a holiday or we can prepare for Christ.
The Rev Teresa Ryan Seagle
Dean of Spiritual Life and Service