It is a quick turnaround this year from clearing the Thanksgiving plates to hanging the Advent calendars. As we think about Advent and all that goes with it, it is good to remind ourselves of where we are in The Story. I like this description from my friends at the Daily Prayer Project:
Advent is the first season of the Christian year. It is the season that waits and watches for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, the Son who will descend from heaven (1 Thess 1:10). As another year arrives and we begin to tell The Story of Jesus and the church over again we start at the end. The word Advent comes from the Latin Adventist which means a “coming” or “visitation”. During the season, the church longs and waits for the end of The Story while living in the dramatic and painful tension of the present, the “already and not yet”. This waiting frames our experience in this preparatory, somber, penitential, and joyful season before the great and luminous celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany. Over these four weeks of Advent we slowly move from darkness to light. This season is also one in which we read and remember Israel's time of waiting before the first coming of the Messiah, when Habakkuk cried out “O Lord how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (Hab. 1:2) and Zephaniah proclaimed “the great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast,” (Zeph 1:14).
We, as God's people, know where the story is going - “all things new” (Rev. 21:5) - and so we acutely know how unfinished it really is. Therefore, we look and love into a world with holy impatience, wanting our hearts to mirror the King’s and longing for the earth to mirror his Kingdom. “Come Lord Jesus.” This is the heart of Advent.
As we wait and watch we will be looking through the lens of Glory. "Glory to God in the highest" is what the angels proclaimed as they announced the incarnation to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). We will start here this first Sunday in Advent as we journey together toward the light of His Glory!