Here we find ourselves in the Advent season once again—the beginning of the liturgical year for most churches in the Western tradition. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” You will hear the motif of pregnancy running through our Advent worship, especially this Sunday as we talk about Mary. You will also hear soloist Katarzyna Honsberger sing “Ave Maria” and “Mary Did You Know?” among other beautiful songs. For those who like to read ahead, Sunday’s scripture is Luke 1:26-38, the story of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she was chosen to bear the Messiah. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and it ends on Christmas Eve. It’s going to be a great season at CCOV!
Like pregnancy, Advent is a season of expectation. We expect light to break into the darkness, even in the shortest days of the year. If we were following the lectionary, our readings this Sunday would seem to point us to Christ’s second coming with scripture passages like Mark 12:24-37. This is the text that speaks of “the Son of Man coming in the clouds” and how no one knows “that day or hour, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” The passage concludes by calling us to be alert and awake. Those who have spent time in other Christian traditions may have heard these scriptures interpreted in terms of end-time prophecies and predictions—predictions that have failed again and again. I would suggest instead that we understand these passages as the coming of Jesus into our lives, again and again—sometimes with ferocious suddenness. So indeed be awake! Jesus comes when hearts of stone melt, oppressed and marginalized folks are liberated, when forgiveness sets us free, and all are granted a place at the table. Advent is truly about expecting Jesus to be born again and again in our hearts, saying “yes” to God as Mary did, and becoming the Christ carriers.
I look forward to celebrating this Advent season with you.
With Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love,