Growing to love the Advent Season
December 7, 2023
Thanksgiving has come and gone; it is time to start reflecting on the Advent Season. After 21 years in Scotland, the Lectionary became a part of my Advent season build up to Christmas. I wish I could do the whole of the Advent writing to build the beauty of the incarnation. Ultimately Christmas is about the incarnation and God coming in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ, on our behalf.
I have not always been a big fan of Christmas. The commercialism and ‘sell, sell, sell’ being the mantra does my head in. Och aye, this is why year after year the Christmas story not changing blesses my heart and soul. It is the story of redemption and the incarnation that makes that possible. Christmas is the introduction of the story that culminates at the cross and the empty grave of Easter.
Sunday is the start of the new lectionary year and the Advent readings. I am reminded that the Lectionary is a part of liturgy that most here in America don’t use as often as I got used to. The Old Testament reading for the week interests me, I hope it interests you too.
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence… To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!... You came down, The mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned— In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities,… Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;… But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. Do not be furious, O Lord, Nor remember iniquity forever; Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!” (selection from Isaiah 64:1–9)
Isaiah proclaims the need for the Redeemer to come, to show again His power in a saving work because those that proclaim the Messiah as Lord are the people of God. The call for us approaching Christmas is to be shaped like God wants us to be as redeemed people, prepared to celebrate the incarnation of the God that showed up in human flesh. We don’t seek for God on our own, but He as Father seeks for us to be shaped to His likeness. I hope this Christmas/Advent Season we come to know the Christ of the incarnation who came for us.