A Moment for Mission
"And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake." — Mark 13:37, NRSV
This first Sunday in December, we begin celebrating the season of Advent, which continues until Christmas Eve. In the church, Advent is the mark of the new liturgical year. This new church year begins as we are wrapping up the past calendar year. While we are reflecting upon the goals, resolutions, failures and successes of the year, the church begins waiting for the coming of Christ to Earth.
During Advent, we remember the humble beginnings of Jesus as a baby born among animals, laid in a manger and welcomed by shepherds. We wait for this humble king in the midst of a Christmas season filled with excess, the busy commotion of the shopping malls, and holiday parties loud enough to drown out the humble arrival of Jesus.
During Advent, we remember the promise of Jesus coming again, this time entering this world in glory and with majesty. In Advent, we wait for the Savior King to set the captive free and to bring justice and peace. Whether the injustices of this world have left us numb or powerless, the coming Savior is the hope of making all things right.
During Advent, we remember that Jesus is waiting on us. He is waiting for us to follow him, making room for him to come into our hearts and lives each day.
God with us, our Emmanuel, we are so grateful for the love and compassion you have shown all occupants of the earth you created. Give us courage to make time and make room that we may be ready to receive your spirit to guide us into a life of walking in the steps of Jesus our Savior. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: First Sunday of Advent – Magnificent God, you created the universe, and your wisdom shines through the laws of nature that we discern. In the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, you worked a miracle to bring salvation. Through your awesome deeds, you light an inextinguishable hope in our hearts. Help our congregation to work together in new ways to tell others your amazing good news. May our tithes and offerings support your work through our outreach ministries. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. (Isaiah 64:1-9)
Advent is the beginning of the church year. We celebrate it each year in the weeks preceding Christmas. This year, Advent begins on Dec. 3 and continues through Christmas Eve. The word Advent comes from the Latin word "coming."
During Advent, we prepare for the coming of Jesus on Earth, remembering that the God who created the world also loved the world enough to come and walk alongside of us on this earthly journey. In Advent, we also prepare for the second coming of Jesus, preparing and making room in our hearts and lives to follow him.
There are many ways that Advent is observed, whether it is corporately in congregations or classes or in our homes. Whether we are pausing to read the Scripture and light an Advent wreath candle or participating in the hanging of the greens, observing Advent is meant to draw us into the story of God coming near, bringing hope and healing to a broken world.