Friday, 7 December 2007

The First Week of Advent (1)

Most of us must be wondering what advent is all about. Advent is a particularly important event for Christians. It is four Sundays away from Christmas and this year the first one happen to fall on 2nd December. It is a reflective period and I would be presenting a series of biblical reflections leading on to Christmas.

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5 Romans 13:11-14 Matthew 24:37-44

Today we come again to the beginning of a new Church year. The word 'Advent' comes from a Latin word meaning 'coming'.
What 'coming' are we talking about? Well, clearly as we are coming up to Christmas, we are preparing to welcome the coming of God among us as a human being, when Jesus was born in the stable at Bethlehem and the great work of our salvation began.
But that welcome is for a past event and is more a remembering than a welcome strictly speaking. But it is a remembering that we need in order to remind us of what happened, of why it happened and how it affects my life here and now.

What coming are we talking about?
At this time, we also remember another coming and that is the final coming when Jesus will come as King and Lord to take to himself all those who have been faithful to the call of his Kingdom. This time of Advent is also a reminder of the need for us to prepare for that Second Coming and to be ready to welcome Jesus whenever he comes.

A great vision
The coming of Jesus and its significance is expressed in the great vision from Isaiah which is our First Reading for today. Mount Zion, the hill upon which Jerusalem is built, is seen as a holy mountain, the centre of the earth and the focal point of the whole world. "The mountain of the Temple of the Lord shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills."

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