Happy New Year! Today marks the beginning of Advent, a word which means ‘coming’ in Latin. It is a 4 Sunday season that begins the Church Year and prepares worshippers for Christmas. Advent is a contemplative time.
The tension between the now and the not yet is one of the great themes of Advent. On the one hand, we prepare for the coming of the Christ in Bethlehem. On the other hand, we prepare for His second coming at the end of time. The tension between the past and future is fully embraced by God’s people in the present as it prepares by meeting her coming Lord in the Lord’s Supper.
The first Sunday of Advent follows immediately on the heels of four Sunday’s thick with end times anticipation. They close off the season of Pentecost. Following the recognition of the final judgement, Advent is the dawn of the end-time, because Jesus, the end of all things, is born Bethlehem. Jesus has invaded our sin laden cosmos and radically altered it by His presence for its good.
Advent & Christmas are about how the apocalyptic invasion of Christ in His incarnation and birth is the ‘End Time’ event! In Jesus birth, death & resurrection, the end times have already begun, but have not reached their final consummation. When Jesus was made man, it was all over, so to speak, but not yet, in the context of human time.
Arthur Just: Heaven on Earth; the gifts of Christ in the divine service, p. 133,134.