Last Sunday we completed a series on marriage and we believe that each one of us has taken time to rethink our marriages which symbolizes Christ as the groom and the church as the bride.This captures well with our December theme of beholding the redeemer our Lord Jesus Christ. During this advent season we remember the second coming of Jesus and self- examine ourselves whether we are fit for the kingdom of God.
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word Parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus in Matthew 2:1, his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and his first miracle at Cana. During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration. For the children of Israel who were faced by all sorts of injustices, the messiah was coming to execute Justice and equity.
According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” Matthew Kelly prayed, “God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you.” These two quotes summarise for us the concept of advent. Waiting is for those with broken yearning hearts that are thirsty and hungry for salvation.
Advent symbolizes the church in the “last days” of Acts 2:17 where there was an expectation of an outpouring of the Spirit of God. It is a season today where God has spoken and still speaks through his son who is the heir of all things as stated in Hebrews 1:2. It is a season where God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. Israel waited by looking back to God’s past gracious actions of deliverance from Egypt during the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season. In this season of the Covid 19 pandemic where death has claimed those that we love and left us with other wounds, we can cry out in the words of Isaiah 25:6-8; that on this mountain he will prepare a feast for us, he will destroy our enemies and swallow up death forever, wipe away the tears from all faces and remove disgrace of his people from the face of the earth.
Advent is a season of hope for those who have put their hope and confidence in the Lord. May God bless you.
The Very Rev. Canon Dr. Rebecca Nyegenye,