Advent is an important and distinct season, though its boundaries are often blurred with its grander and more widely observed sister season of Christmas. Advent has its own liturgical colors (blue or purple), its own hymns (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel), and its own rituals (lighting Advent candles and marking off Advent calendars). Advent is, above all else, a time of waiting and preparation. After all, we can’t just go running straight into Christmas. There is a lot of prep work to do first. The Worship Sourcebook describes it this way:
In Advent we heighten our anticipation for the ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament promises, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away. In this way Advent highlights for us the larger story of God’s redemptive plan.
In other words, these four weeks are time to reflect on the hope of our faith in Christ. There are a lot of promises made in the Bible, most of them sound too good to be true: the end of war, genuine love and friendship among all people, peace inward and outward, the resolution of all injustice and fear…really? Do we really think this is possible and, if so, do we believe that the road we are on as a faith community leads in that direction? This is the time of year to take account of what faith means, asking ourselves if we are ready to move ahead with heart, soul, mind and strength.
If, after a time of reflection, our response is an unequivocal “yes!” (following Mary’s response), then let Christ be born again! Let Christ be born in us, and in our church, and in the world.