That's right. Advent is upon us. It’s hard to believe we have already come full circle since I first arrived at Christ Church a year ago. It’s also hard to believe that Christmas already draws so near.
The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which in turn is a translation of the Greek word parousia. In Christian theology, the parousia or “presence” of Christ refers most particularly to his Second Coming, when he returns and is physically present with the saints in the new creation forever. The season of Advent, accordingly, has a theme of meditation on the return and final judgment of Jesus, as will be evident in the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday.
But it is the first coming of Jesus, when he is present with us in human flesh, that lays the groundwork for his coming again. It is appropriate to take a bit of time every year to reacquaint ourselves with that aspect of “longing” in our faith, longing for Christ’s second appearing as Israel longed for his first centuries ago.
As we long for our Lord’s coming, we rightly examine ourselves that we might be adequately prepared. As an aid to this preparation and examination, there will be a few changes to our Sunday liturgy during the run up to Christmas that are designed to bring out the themes of the season:
I hope you find these liturgical variations useful to you as you orient your minds and hearts to the eager longing and joyful expectation Advent represents.
Surely the Lord is coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!