Monday, November 29, 2010
Advent (Adventus in Latin, or Parousia in Greek) means looking forward to or preparing for the royal arrival of our Lord and receiving our inheritance as heirs to His kingdom. In case you never heard of it before, Advent is is the season between the Sunday after Thanksgiving through Christmas in the Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist churches.
Official Church liturgy and Bible readings often focus on Jesus' second coming, although most of us lay-people tend to focus on the whole Baby-Jesus traditional Christmas story. The secular world tend to focus on the innocent wonder of childhood, Santa, and of course retail commerce.
If time, inspiration, and inclination, permit me, I'd like to address all of these issues on this blog over the course of the next month.
Regular followers of this blog, know that I'm a big fan of I John. A great way to think of 1 John 3:1 is like we're little kids anxiously waiting for our Daddy to come home from a business trip. We know He loves us and we've talked to him every night on the phone, but we can't wait to finally get to see us in person. On top of it, He's bringing us presents from his trip!
That is some lavish love indeed. But the part that really gives us hope and fits the Advent theme is, "... now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is"
We are saved and justified, but our new lives have just begun, our purification and sanctification will be a life-long process, not completed in full until His return on that last day. I had a pastor once call this the "now, not-yet" factor. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, " For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
I kind of like how the British version of Santa Claus is called "Father Christmas." He can be a metaphor for how we already know that we are loved and cherished children, but we also wait excitedly for when our daddy comes to pick us up from the babysitter and take us home.