With an Advent calendar counting down the days until Christmas, an Advent ring reminding us of those like the patriarchs and prophets who waited for the coming of Christ, and a book of daily readings for Advent called Love Came Down at Christmas, it would be easy to think that Advent is all about preparing ourselves spiritually for Christmas, celebrating God coming among us in Christ, the word made flesh. And it is about that, but that’s not all it’s about. (Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas and the word comes from the Latin adventus, meaning ‘arrival’).
Advent is also about another coming: Christ’s second coming. The Collect for the First Sunday in Advent helpfully reminds us that the one who “came to visit us in great humility … shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead.” This reflects what Scripture teaches, for example in Titus 2. There is Christmas: “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (verse 11), and there is the second coming: “we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (verse 13).
As we rightly get ready to celebrate Christmas, let’s also celebrate the second coming, when Jesus will at last be seen in all his glory and our redemption will be complete. And let’s rejoice in both his “great humility” in coming as man to save us and his “glorious majesty” as Lord of all.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)