And just like that the Advent season comes to an end. It was a good and challenging Advent season for me. We spent the weeks between Thanksgiving and exams thinking about Advent in chapel. My guide through much of that time was Fleming Rutledge through her collection of sermons and essays titled Advent. From the book’s introduction:
Of all the seasons of the church year, Advent most closely mirrors the daily lives of Christians and of the church, asks the most important ethical questions, presents the most accurate picture of the human condition, and above all, orients us to the future of the God who will come again.
“Advent calls for a life lived on the edge,” Rutledge asserts, primarily because it orients us to God’s intent for our future: the second coming of Jesus. Yes, we remember His first arrival, His incarnation. But we are, at this point in the story, called to be mindful about His pending return.
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The Daily Office readings for Advent have been a nice reminder of the waiting Jesus requires of us. It’s been good to see the words of Jesus recorded by Luke as well as Paul’s thoughts on the Second Coming as found in his letters to the church in Thessalonica. And then there has been the beautiful words of hope from the prophet Isaiah. From this morning’s reading from Isaiah 35:
And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
A road that leads up now to the celebration of Christmas and all that has happened in our world as a result.
Ah, Advent’s waiting . . .