What is Advent, really?
Brothers and sisters, Advent is not really about waiting for Christmas as much as it is about waiting for the second coming of Christ. The Birth of Jesus is something that most of us contemplate, we celebrate, we are familiar with the stories and are familiar with how the birth of Jesus came about. But, it is his second coming, the event that hasn’t happened yet, the day when he will call his followers together, that is what Advent is all about. Advent is defined as the beginning of the church year because waiting for Christ to come a second time is what the existence of the church is all about. Everything we, do we do, until he comes again in glory. Let me say that again, everything we do, we do until he comes again in glory.
Warning – Salvation ahead.
And brothers and sisters, Advent is a poignant reminder, maybe even a warning, that when he comes again in glory, you had better be ready. It is why the colors of repentance characterize this season. We all know the story of salvation. We know how this ends, but sometimes we forget. The warning signs are there but sometimes, we ignore them.
Photo-enforced speed zones
I got a confession; I enjoy driving down Connecticut Avenue and the Anacostia Freeway. I ready enjoy driving down both of those major Washington area streets for two reasons – Each of those streets has photo-enforced speed zones AND I know exactly where they are. Since I know where they are, typically, I speed down Connecticut Avenue until I get to Chevy Chase Village or I speed down the Anacostia Freeway until I get to the Pennsylvania Avenue exit. I know where the cameras are and I know exactly when to slow down.
Now, brothers and sisters, that same sort of warning is coming to us during Advent. Like all Christians, we know the road and all of the speed traps that can divert us away from our salvation. The Church knows how this story ends, it knows which team is going to win and it wants to make sure that we are on the winning team. Just like I know what to do to avoid a ticket and get to my destination safely, the Church knows what we need to do regarding our own salvation.
Brothers and sisters, we know how all of this is going to end. We profess it each time we say, “Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again.” We profess our faith that Jesus is coming and I want to be ready. And for those who do not share this faith, frankly Advent is a warning. Advent is a warning that God is coming and to be prepared.
And remember, ALL of our sins are photo-enforced!