It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s here! Or is it still coming? It’s BOTH. In the Catholic Kalendar, observed in some fashion by the whole world in some fashion, the four Sundays preceding Christmas are called “Advent”, “Adventus” from the Latin meaning “coming”. What is coming? Messiah is coming. From the earliest book of Moses, called Genesis, there has been reference to someone “coming”. In the third chapter of Genesis we read the so called “proto-evangellium” (before-gospel) where we read: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Anyone familiar with the God of the Bible knows that this God is playing for the “long-game” and not the immediate gains.
While the Enemy of God and His person appears early on we don’t see how the whole cosmic array is played out until further on in the Scriptures. Perhaps, the book of Job lays out what later the Lord Jesus would further elaborate upon.
This first Advent was indeed the first and most decisive of battles. God comes in the flesh, a mysterious and unique “hybrid” of the God-Man, thoroughly and completely both. From this profound and understated act of God again comes more of heaven to earth “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God….” The child who was born on that day was a Savior, the Messiah and Lord. The difficulties of living in the ancient world make living in our own pale by comparison. Although each person’s circumstances most focus on their own lives, this Savior would come to free us from that radical focus on self. The Savior would come to put God into our hearts, would put God’s eyes into our own, would let us hear with the ears of Holy Spirit and speak words of holy breath to create with holy hands. This Savior, the prophesied one would make all creation new.
In Advent, we reiterate the whole story, we imagine a world before Jesus, we live out the limitations, the frustrations, the struggles to attain and to lose and then to attain again. The love of God longing for a people who were wayward and yet at times full of passionate love so often cuckold, was left wondering when or if his bride Israel would return. We read in the book of the prophet where it is said in chapter eleven: "Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows.” (11:8) With my pastoral counseling skills, I might send the Lord to a more qualified professional! However, it is the very undying, unending and “reckless” love of God (to quote a new winning religious song) that makes that same God, that same Father and that same Grace ever plead for, rescue and accomplish that new birth in us that begins in the culmination of the Older Testament into the Newer with the coming of Jesus. As we enter the Advent observance. Let us move our heart to come to Him who first came to us.
This first week, the theme is “HOPE”. It has been said that the one thing people cannot live without if “HOPE”. Let us find our HOPE in God. He found His HOPE in us, he believed in us, knowing what we would do with His Son, yet He hoped in us enough to come anyway. In the marital covenant, the couple puts their hope one into another. The Covenant God made with us came to fruition and God came to us and in us in Jesus. A Blessed First Week of Advent. AMEN