The Purpose of Advent

Tom and Marsha through the kitchen window

Those first twenty-five days of December we call Advent. It’s a time when we look forward to the coming of Christmas. But more than that, it exercises our spirits, prepares us for the Coming of the Lord, period. It stretches our souls so that we may see the kingdom of God come with power, as Jesus predicted to his apostles in Mark’s Gospel. That may mean his Second Coming; it may mean those special comings in which Jesus comes to us personally in some way, whether something as subtle as the smile of a friend, or something as dramatic as the Transfiguration. And Advent prepares us, most important of all, to apprehend the profound significance of our Lord’s Incarnation, his First Coming.

How do we get ready for the Coming of the Lord? When Marsha and I know the grandchildren are coming, we get the house ready. I should say, Marsha gets the house ready and I do what she tells me to do. She transforms our living room into a play room, she blocks the fireplace with toys and makes that corner into a play kitchen. And so on… And then we wait with bated breath, our hearts standing on tiptoe, waiting, waiting, waiting…

Advent is a season of waiting and expectation. We get our house ready, the house of the heart. As I said earlier, it exercises our spirits. And even though we may think we are only getting ready for Christmas, we are “getting in shape” to welcome the Lord, however he chooses to come. We look for Christ’s Coming and are built up in faith because he has come. And as we fathom that First Coming—it prepares us for his further Coming. But its preparation lies in the fact that this Coming of the Lord needs to be grasped by us for its own sake. The preparation is almost a glorious side effect. Virtue and grace are communicated to our spirits as we truly appreciate Christ’s Incarnation, his First Coming.

Posted by Thomas Worth

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