Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Collect for Advent: my By the Way column in yesterday's Medicine Hat News

Jesus is coming again. That's what Advent is about. It is the season we're still in until sundown on Christmas Eve. Advent is about getting ready and waiting for his return. The season calls us to the kind of intentional holy waiting which refills our spiritual lamps so we can light up the world until Jesus returns.

In Anglican and other prayer books there is a special prayer we are encouraged to pray every day during Advent. This is how it goes:
Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
      to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Here are some thoughts to go with it as we wait through the last three days of Advent:

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is Almighty. You and I exist because He is. Someone described him as the fastest checkers player in the world. It's always our move. We can only respond to what God Almighty has already done. Jesus is what God has done, is doing and will do, forever. Amen.

Grace is God's empowering presence to be who he made us to be and to do what he calls us to do (James Ryle). God gives us the grace. We cast the works of darkness away and out of our lives, and we put on the armour of light. God does not do that for us. Advent is a good God-given time to discern what we need to cast away and what we need to put on.

Although Jesus came first in great humility, when he comes again it will be in glorious majesty as befits the Son of the Almighty God. There will be a last day. There will be judgement. There will be rising to the life immortal, or not.

Jesus is alive and reigns as King right now. Advent is the quieter, expectant waiting season to help us get that straight before we enjoy the tinsel, the turkey and the sugar plums.

May the remainder of your Advent be deep and quiet and your Christmas merrily noisy (when it comes).