Welcome to the Season of Advent 2018
By Fr. Edward Kironde, Interim Rector
Advent is the season in which the faithful prepare their hearts to recognize and welcome the Savior when He appears. In the same season, we also look forward with anticipation to the second coming (Greek: parousia) of the savior at the end of time. He will return to consummate His eternal kingdom.
The first two Sundays look forward to that anticipation, while the last two look back in remembrance of the first coming when the Savior was born as a human baby, the Creator taking on flesh to pay for human rebellion and open the way for God and humans to dine together.
The present situation of the Church resembles what the nation of Israel experienced while in exile. Israel waited and hoped for a savior to appear and redeem them from their impoverished condition and lead them to a peaceful existence. The nation had experienced numerous miraculous deliverances by God in the past, the greatest of them being the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
Similarly, the Church, having been delivered from sin by the first coming of Christ, is still plagued by “toil, tribulation, and the tumult of her war [against sin]” as the hymn The Church’s One Foundation says. The Church is now in exile, as it were, and we long for the appearance of our Christ to usher in the heavenly Kingdom. Thus, we cry:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Israel would cry out the words of that song expecting the Messiah’s first coming, but the Church cries out with the same words looking forward to the Messiah’s second and final coming. Advent, much like Lent, is a season of fasting and repentance to prepare our hearts to receive the Savior.
May this Advent season be meaningful for you as you prepare the Lord’s temple to receive Him. Here’s a list of things you can consider praying about during this season (edited from Pray for Simplicity This Advent by Whitney Hopler):
- Pray for attentiveness to what truly matters, without being distracted by trivial things.
- Pray for opportunities to learn something new regularly.
- Pray for discernment of how God would like you to set your priorities and the ability to focus on them consistently to fulfill His purposes in your life.
- Pray for the grace to be able to rest, become aware of God’s presence, and enjoy it.
- Pray for strong relationships with other people in the bond of loving community.
- Pray for peace in all situations, no matter what the circumstances.
- Pray for an enlivened imagination that helps you contribute to the world in creative ways.
- Pray for freedom from all that burdens you – past mistakes, fears, destructive habits, hurts other people have inflicted, and more.
- Pray for joy and a sense of humor.
- Pray for confidence in God’s love for you and trust in His power to work things out for the best in your life.
- Pray for a clear mind and the ability to clearly communicate what you value to others.
- Pray for purity so you can grow as a person and encounter God more fully.
- Pray for openness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
- Pray for a genuine awareness of God’s grace in your life and the humility to extend grace to others.
- Pray for a passion to pursue justice.
- Pray for your interim Rector, Fr. Jim Paul, and Deacon Larry.