Advent 1 :: Happy New Year!

Fourth of July 2009  056

Fireworks!

Happy New Year!

This First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of another liturgical year in the life of the Church. The warp and woof of the Church year is none other than an unfolding of the fabric of salvation history which begins as it ended: with stories of end-time prophecy.

It may seem rather odd that we should begin a new year with a foretaste of the end of time. Don’t such things conjure up images of wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes, floods, stars falling from the heavens, and the sun and moon losing their celestial purpose of lighting our days and nights? These images are terrifying indeed. The prospect of suffering through these events may cause even the most brave among us to cower in fear and trepidation. But don’t we already live in times as these? Mother earth has been hit with natural disaster upon natural disaster [think Japanese earthquakes and North American hurricanes and tornadoes to name just a few]. And goodness knows we’ve had more than enough wars with which to contend. But stars falling from the heavens and sun and moon turning dark? Yep, those, too [think meteorites and eclipses]. So, actually there is nothing new under the sun! This stuff is going on all the time.

Perhaps it helps us to be reminded that it wasn’t so long ago that folks looked at these things and interpreted them as signs foretelling the end of the world as they knew it [to paraphrase R.E.M.]. And, while we may think ourselves to be more sophisticated than our ancestors, it helps to know that we like they, have nothing to fear. Nothing can hurt us—not earthquake, or flood, or tempest, or war.

Why?

Because we are a people of hope. We are a people eagerly looking for the coming of Christ in Glory—in a manger in Bethlehem, and at the culmination of the ages. And we wait. Expectantly. Hopefully. Joyfully.

Link to RCL Lectionary for Advent 1

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