Post date: Nov 25, 2020 6:17:11 PM
It may be a rather different Christmas this year, due to the Covid epidemic, but we still celebrate the advent, the coming, of our Savior Jesus Christ. The first Sunday of the Advent season is Nov 29th, and always sneaks up on us when it is Thanksgiving weekend. We do plan on having Holden Evening Prayer at 7 pm on Wed’s Dec 2, 9 and 16. Come as you are to these informal half hour services. And we will have Christmas Eve candlelight service at 7:30 pm.
I always like to talk about the 3 advents, the 3 comings of our Savior Jesus. There is of course his first coming among us, soft and sweet, as a new-born human baby. The Incarnation, the enfleshment, of the Son of God is a miracle to behold. That Almighty God, the Creator of the entire Universe, would love and care for us enough to become one of us in fragile human flesh, is indeed marvelous news for us.
The second advent, the second coming of Jesus is just that: Christ’s second coming as Savior and Righteous Judge of all at the end of time. As Christians we have no idea when this will happen, so we keep on living lives of hope and faithfulness as we await the completion of God’s kingdom, God’s reign of peace, love and justice on earth. During the first part of the Advent season, our Sunday Gospel readings focus on Jesus’s second coming as we are urged to watch, wait and prepare. And we hear the voice of John the Baptist calling us to repentance and to “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
The third advent is the way in which our Savior Jesus is constantly with us as Immanuel: God-with-us. We are comforted and encouraged to know that Jesus is with us through his Holy Spirit and Holy Word, Bread & Wine, the water of baptism, and Christian community. We are also challenged to see Jesus in the faces of our neighbors in need. Jesus says that as often as we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick and imprisoned, “You did it to me.” Matt 25.
I couldn’t help thinking this year that waiting for Jesus is a bit like waiting for a vaccine in the midst of this epidemic. Good news is coming eventually, but it will take a while. We are greatly encouraged recently by news of promising vaccines. But we also know that distribution of this vaccine will take quite a while and that infection rates are increasing this winter. So we need to keep living responsibly and respectfully of other people by wearing masks, socially distancing and washing our hands. We are all experiencing “mask fatigue” by now, but we need to keep on loving our neighbors by wearing a face covering. It baffles me that some states still do not have a mask mandate.
An Advent tradition at FLC which I always enjoy is to sing verses of “Light one candle to watch for Messiah”: one more verse with each successive Sunday in the Advent Season. Here are verses 1 and 4. “Light one candle to watch for Messiah: let the light banish darkness. He shall bring salvation to Israel, God fulfills the promise.” “Light four candles to watch for Messiah: let the light banish darkness.
He is coming, tell the glad tidings. Let your lights be shining.”
May Jesus, the light of the world, sustain you in peace, hope, love and joy,