“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.'” – Jeremiah 33:14-16, NRSV.
And so it begins… with Advent we begin a new church year. We begin the journey toward the manger. We prepare by lighting the first candle of the Advent Wreath today and laying the greens in worship, like the sanctuary pictured at right at Messiah Lutheran Church.
The season of Advent calls us to prepare our hearts and minds during these four weeks leading to Christmas. During these weeks, we look at the ways that God’s kingdom has broken into the world, and wonder in what ways will it still yet come. We remember and dwell deeply in thinking about what it means that God’s kingdom and work is both a “now and not yet” reality.
During these weeks, we ask and pray that Jesus Christ come soon. We pray for Christ to come, not that we can open the presents of Christmas, but to redeem the broken and hurting world. We pray that the Prince of Peace come and end the madness of violence and war, and restore creation to health. We sing with Mary and proclaim that our “Spirit rejoices in God our Savior.”
There is much that we are preparing for this Advent, like every other. But perhaps in your life you are preparing for something different or unique this year?
I am preparing for the first Christmas Eve spent in the state of Washington by my wife Allison and I since we have been married. I am waiting for my first call. I am preparing for new conversations and important meetings, decisions, and work that will be happening in the next couple of weeks. I am excited, but I am also waiting and preparing as we all do this time of year. May you take the time to pause, reflect and prepare this day and every day.
This Advent, what are you preparing for?