First Sunday of Advent: December 2         

Luke 21:25-36 —

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.  People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.  Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

from William B. Allen, Regional Minister Emeritus

“Advent” simply means coming.  In the church year the season of Advent refers to the coming of Jesus the Christ.  While we usually think of the coming of Jesus as an infant in Bethlehem, that is just part of the story.  Advent also refers to the coming of Christ in all his glory to initiate the cosmic reign of God.  That is where the gospel directs our attention on this first day of the new church year.  “Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.”  The stories of the nativity of our Lord delight and inform us as to the loving nature of God.  But more significant even than the birth is the fact that Christ reigns “with power and great glory.”  We are told to “be alert at all times.”  These are days of expectant watching and waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ as a baby and as monarch of the universe.  Let us be aware of the signs of Christ’s reign.

For all the ways in which you come to us, O Christ,

help us to ready ourselves to receive you.