Monday, November 18, 2013

Time Between - Advent Awaits the Coming of Christ

(Much of this post comes from Rev. Gerike, Cantor of Reformation Lutheran Church, who writes on Unwrapping the Gifts)

Advent is also known as the “evening of the year.” Not only do we "wait" for the coming of Christ, but one of the themes is about dark v. light.  

The Advent Services will be about the Darkness vs. the Light. - the darkness of a world condemned, given over by God to its own sin, and the advancing beams of the Daystar, God of God, Light of Light, Jesus the Christ, the One who comes into such a world to bear its sin away. 

While Christmas songs, decorations and shopping occupy the thoughts of many, the Church emphasizes the Advent season as a time to look into the darkness of our situation before leaping too quickly or too cheaply into the light. Advent is a time for focusing on the gravity of the human predicament, the bleak condition of the world in which the Word was made flesh, which the Lamb of God took upon Himself.  

The Time Between

Advent represents the Church’s life because the Christian community lives in the great “Time Between.” The people of God live at the very frontier of the ages — the “Time Between” Christ’s first coming incognito in the stable of Bethlehem and His second coming in glory to judge the living and the dead. In the “Time Between,” our lives are hidden with Christ in God: “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4 ESV). 

Advent contains within itself a good balance of
  • the now and the not-­yet; 
  • the hidden and the revealed
  • the suffering and the glory 
— all held in a dynamic tension.

The Advent life is a healthy and holy tension that is every believer's daily life as well. It is a joyful anticipation and longing founded upon God’s promise, at the same time facing the reality of life's darkness. It is a life of dark and light, hope and fulfillment, first Advent and second Advent, terror and promise, the end and the beginning.

Thus it is no surprise that Advent is a season under stress because it is a season out of step, at cross-­‐purposes (for Cross purposes) with a society numb for more than a month with rehearsals, decorations and broadcasts.  "Come, Lord Jesus..."