Advent marks for us the beginning of the Church Year. Advent means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’ and the season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve.
The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in his first advent and the anticipation of his return as King in his second. Thus advent is far more than simply marking a 2000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God - his revealing of himself in Christ Jesus whereby all creation might be reconciled to Him. This is something in which we now participate, the consummation of which we anticipate.
Advent for Christian men and women is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is in Christian hearts a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world. This is seen most starkly in the cry of those who know the tyranny of injustice and yet who have a hope of deliverance by a God who hears their cries and the cries of the oppressed and dispossessed.
It is this hope, however faint at times, and this God, however distant he sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over his people and His creation. It is this hope that anticipates anew, the reign of the Anointed One, a Messiah, who brings peace and justice and righteousness to the world.
God bless each one of us as we prepare to celebrate again the birth of our Lord.