Advent - a season of expectant waiting
On Sunday, we begin the Season of Advent. Advent is from the Latin word meaning 'coming'. During the Season of Advent we look forward in expectant waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
So, how well are you waiting? And what sort of preparation is happening in your life during the Season of Advent?
A good way to focus on the meaning of the Season is to use the following prayer. This prayer is a 'time-honoured' Collect from the Book of Common Prayer. It made its first appearance in 1549. It then became the standard Collect in 1662 to be used day by day during the Season of Advent. It has also been used since then in Prayer Books in Anglican churches across the world:
give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came among us
in great humility,
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God. now and for ever. Amen.
This prayer makes us aware that our lives are set between the two comings of Christ. We are able to relate to his first coming when Jesus shared our temptations and our sorrows. But he is to come again no longer in lowliness and suffering, but as Lord and Judge of all.
In the meantime in the ordinary busyness and bustle of life when it is so easy to get distracted we do have the 'armour of life' available to us. Christ comes to clothe us with the strength and grace that only God in Christ can give us.
We affirm in this prayer the Christian truth of the resurrection of the dead. We have the assurance from Christ that there is more to this life than what we see with our naked eye. Jesus said,
"I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:28)
Our safety lies in all that Christ has done for us.
God's grace is available to you today as we begin a new Church Year. Nothing can keep us back from following Christ as we respond to his invitation to trust in him. May you continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.