Brothers and sisters in Christ, Grace to you and peace always, from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. As we transition from the time of the Church enriched by grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we now move into a season that enlivens all hearts to join together in joyful anticipation of the coming savior. In Advent we stand together as the Church, awaiting the return of the bridegroom in glory. In unison we pray the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer with much more fervor, trusting in our eternal hope, that in Christ Jesus, God’s kingdom would come to us; that this heavenly kingdom which has broken into our world in the birth of a lowly child so long ago, might also break into our hearts and invigorate them with the promises of God.
The rest of the world might view this as just a bit dramatic. The “Holiday Season,” is supposed to be full of wonder and excitement, wrapped up in only good feelings. Why should we talk about the presence of evil at such a time? Shouldn’t we instead just think about candy canes, and gumdrops? And instead of talking about the promise of a messiah who is to save us from the curse of sin and death, shouldn’t we just take up the new marketing cry and simply express our love and believe?
What makes the Advent season so special for Christians is the fact that we have something specific to believe in. Instead of placing our hope in some ferry dust, that if sprinkled over you miraculously makes you into a saint, we trust only in the Lord and his righteousness. He is the rock of our salvation, and by his Holy Word and in His body and blood, he is a very real presence in times of trouble. Jesus Christ—the eternal Word and wisdom of God made flesh—broke into our word in all the weakness and innocence of a child. But this child would loose the stranglehold of the devil with God’s forgiveness and mercy. It is this true faith for which he dies, that you might have the full assurance of his salvation.
This Advent as we sing “O Come, O Come, Immanuel,” may we also pray with hearts of faith for the coming of God’s kingdom in Jesus Christ: a kingdom which is already but not yet. For we all know full well the evil and sin which lurks in the shadows, crouching behind our doors. Yet, in faith we pray with longing hearts for assurance of things hoped for in the coming of Jesus Christ: the one who is, who was, and is to come. We stand in resolute defiance to all the wickedness that would turn us away, and rejoice in this Advent all the same. For a savior is born to us, and through him the victory is won! Let us join the choirs of angels, and all the saints, rejoicing at God with us.
Fides Ex Auditu,