Tomorrow – Sunday 27th November – is Advent Sunday. The beginning of a new church year. Advent – when we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s first coming – Christmas – and look forward to his Second and Glorious return.
At All Saints, and in many Anglican churches, we will each week light candles as a means to help us focus upon upon these themes of Advent. The first Sunday focuses upon the Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – the ones to whom the promises of God were first given. The Second Sunday (4th December) recalls the many promises in the Prophets of Christ’s Incarnation and his Glorious Return. The Third Sunday (11th December), has its focus on John the Baptist – the one to prepare the coming of the Lord. And finally 18th December is our Fourth Sunday, which focuses upon Mary – called to carry the Promise of the Christ, but who also through her words of praise in the Magnificat looked forward to God’s fulfilling of his promises through his Son, Jesus.
And the challenge particularly of the Gospel readings, both tomorrow and in the coming Sundays, will be: not only are we preparing to celebrate his birth and incarnation, but are we ready for his return, do we expect his return, could he return in our lifetimes?