Embrace Advent

“Oddly, of all the seasons of the year, Advent preaching is the easiest, at least in my opinion. Why is that? It is because Advent is about a world in darkness, and it is not at all difficult to show that this is a world of darkness, certainly not at this period in our history. Advent is therefore a season in which we help one another to face up to the truth about the human race in general and also the truth about ourselves.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

Advent is war

Finishing the calendar year in Advent also brings my reading into Revelation. (NOTE: While it is the end of the “calendar year”, it is the beginning of the Church Year.) Over my lifetime I have gone through a lot of changed thinking when it comes to the Book of Revelation. It has become to me a book of HOPE. But that hope is tempered. It’s a great book for Advent, quite honestly. 

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Advent calls us to deep examination

“Today I have one concern and one concern only — to bring before you the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. How can we not love him with every fiber of our being? We were unworthy, but he counted us worthy. We deserved judgment, but he gave us mercy. We were slaves to sin and death, but he gave himself to release us into life and righteousness. He is remaking us into his image and likeness. The advent of divine judgment means that we do indeed find ourselves in urgent need of a complete overhaul, but the final act of the drama is resurrection and a passage into eternal life.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ 

The season of darkness and longing

Advent begins in darkness. Advent calls us to examination and to remember the coming judgments of Christ. We don’t like darkness. We don’t like waiting. We’ve misinterpreted “judgment” so we don’t like that, either. So, in the process, we’ve diminished a season that is very much needed in the Church. 

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The darkness of Advent and communal lament

“Unlike American Christianity, the Bible is not individualistic, but thoroughly social in its orientation. When the Church groans with Isaiah, ‘Thou hast hid they face far from us,’ it speaks as a corporate body with a common lot. If one suffers, all suffer.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Christ