The Time of Advent
Advent is a strange time. It’s a season when time itself seems to get warped and bent and twisted. In the Chapel of our Lord at Concordia University in Chicago, the Advent banners featured three phrases that were repeated numerous times: “Christ has come. Christ comes. Christ is coming.” As a young freshman, I was very confused by the three different tenses of these statements and how they applied to Advent. But now, they are the truest thing I have ever heard about the month of December because Advent season encompasses all of these truths simultaneously.
We begin Advent by looking at “Christ is coming.” The Last Sunday in the Church Year has us looking to the second coming of Christ and the separating of the sheep from the goats. Advent is a time when we lift our heads up from our everyday lives and look to the East, to the skies that promise the return of Christ (cf. Matthew 24:27). It begins by looking past December 25th and farther out to a time when the dead shall rise and we will be reunited with those who have gone before us. Christ is coming.
As Advent progresses, we find ourselves looking back at “Christ has come.” We recount the life and ministry of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. Our Advent lessons bring us closer and closer to December 24th. The season culminates with the faithful gathered in a Sanctuary illuminated only by candles as we sing of how Christ our Savior is born. Christmas Eve, the last day of Advent, is a reminder of this truth: Christ has come.
In the midst of all of this is the truth that we cannot deny: “Christ comes.” We dare not think that we are in some sort of limbo, some in-between-time where Christ has already left and has not come back. We dare not think of ourselves as St. Paul did as ones “untimely born” (1 Cor.15:8). Christ comes to us regularly. As we read God’s Word, whether that be a deep pouring over a text or a brief skim of the Portals of Prayer, Christ comes to us. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper, Christ comes to us in, with, and under the bread and the wine. As we share and receive forgiveness and peace from a pastor or other Christians, Christ comes to us through the words of a believer. We were not untimely born, instead we are like Esther who have been born for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Advent is indeed a strange time but it is a time that reminds us of a timeless truth that gives so much hope: Christ comes. He comes to us; we need not try to go to Him. He has come to us as a babe in a manger, He continues to come in His Word and Sacraments, and will come again in glory to raise the dead.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)
“Lo! He Comes on Clouds Descending”
An Advent Sermon Series based
on 1 Thessalonians
Dinner is at 6:00p.m.
Services start at 7:15p.m.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Wednesday, December 24 at 7:15pm
Christmas Morning Service
Thursday, December 25 at 10:00am
9:00 am Sunday School & Bible Study
10:30 am Sunday Worship
610 W. Old Hickory Blvd.
Madison TN 37115