The four weeks of Advent are a time of preparation with a dual purpose – and preparations take time! We prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, yes. We look forward to Christmas so much that we are sometimes surprised when musicians and pastors keep us from singing our favorite carols in church. “Not yet,” they say, although we may sneak in a Christmas song as a prelude or an anthem. But it’s not time yet for all the Christmas hymns sung by the whole congregation and choir with gusto. We are waiting, as if for the first time, for the birth of the King.
We are also waiting for the end time. This is why, often also to our surprise and consternation, liturgical Lutherans find ourselves listening to Old Testament prophecies, John the Baptist’s thunderings, and Jesus’ words of warning on these Sundays of Advent. Our church is preparing for the coming of our Lord as a baby in the manger, but also for that day when he will come again “in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”
This message is excerpted from “Advent: A season for all generations” by Christa Von Zychlin, a 2009 resource of the Women of the ELCA. Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. Today we commemorate John of Damascus, theologian and hymnwriter, c. 749.
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