Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I love the seasons of life in the church, marked by times of preparation and celebration designed to keep us looking both back at God’s faithfulness to His people, and forward to Christ’s return to bring the eternal final chapter in the divine love story.
Advent is so much more than a countdown to Christmas! Marking the start of a new liturgical year, the Church recalls her heritage and hope. God’s people are invited to see afresh what God has done, is doing, and will do. In Advent we prepare to celebrate the humble manifestation of God in a form with which humanity could identify. It follows, then, to intentionally pause to look at who we are as followers of Jesus in the world. Much like Lent, the season of introspection and amendment of life that precedes Easter, Advent appropriately calls us to look at our lives, our families, our relationships, even our ministries. We can take pause here to ask of these ‘how are you doing, really?’ and, in light of God’s mercy and grace, to make course corrections.
The special consideration of this first week of Advent is hope. I’m taking time to consider how I’m doing at:
- placing my hope in that which has eternal value, in what will last.
- dispensing grace.
- remembering who God is, and what God has done.
- seeking God, and being in awe of Him where I find Him.
- communicating the one, true hope that is found in Jesus Christ.
From Psalm 25:
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.