At this time of year, many of us are looking forward with great anticipation. We look down the barrel of finishing work, booking out our calendars with Christmas events, and perhaps even looking forward to boxing day when everything is over and we can rest.
Advent is the current season in the Christian calendar, and it too is a time of anticipation. You may have an advent calendar on the wall with chocolates, or some shops now sell beer advent calendars! Our family’s evening advent anticipation centres more around the smarties in our calendar than the Bible verse that goes with it.
But Advent was originally designated as a time to reflect and prepare for the second coming of Christ. Interestingly, the churches I have been where advent is a part of their local practice, this focus has been lost for a focus on the significance and need for Christ’s first coming. Whether or not your follow the church calendar closely, loosely, or not at all, I don’t mind (Romans 14:5-6). What I wonder about is whether we have neglected some of the glories and harsh realities of Christ’s second coming, for the niceties of his first.
Christ’s judgement of the living and the dead. Holding out to people the hope of eternal life as found in the Scriptures. Being ministers and stewards of the gospel so that hearts may turn from disobedience to truth. Prayer to be given power from God to run the race of faith until the end.
These are worthy themes to occupy our thoughts and prayers, focusing us on what is to be anticipated most of all: the return of Christ the King.
– Sam Pursell