Thursday, December 02, 2010

a foretaste of advent and an excerpt from "advent: preparation, anticipation and hope in Christ's coming"

Perhaps, like many others, you've wondered: what is Advent?

Well, Advent is a liturgical season (a time or particular religious observation in the Christian faith) that centers around a "coming."

If Advent means, literally, "coming," one might wonder: who is coming?

The answer, obviously, is Christ. But we might further wonder: who is Jesus Christ?

In the Christian Bible, Jesus Christ was and is God of the Cosmos - above Whom there is none other, Peerless Peer and Everlasting Lord of All. He was born under supernatural circumstances to a teenage girl during her engagement to an older, respectable man who likely only half-believed her explanation of the Holy Spirit impregnating her and planned to divorce her quietly once the baby was born.

Jesus (his name is Joshua in Aramaic) was born under a cloud of suspicion, but later came to be called Christ (which means "anointed one" and relates to an ancient belief by practicing Jews in a military hero known as the Messiah who would deliver them from their national and spiritual enemies).

Christ wasn't his last name, but his title.

All of this begs another question: why is Christ coming?

He is coming, simply, because something has gone horribly and persistently wrong with his creation. God created the world and placed us within it as a well-ordered and developing ecosystem, complete with interpersonal and interspecies interaction that would have sustained life abundantly and joyously. We were created to be something akin to planetary horticulturalists or zoologists, while simultaneously being given the directive to establish ourselves into societies and govern the earth.

Sadly, there is now great corruption in our world for which we - inescapably - must acknowledge our own culpability. (War. Famine. Hate. Bigotry. O-zone depletion. Global Warming. Jealousy. Greed.) None of us are guilt-free concerning the human condition, nor the condition of our planet. Our world is deeply wounded, and Christ came to fix it.

Once again, one further - and, for now, final - question is now appropriate: how does Christ plan to fix the mess we're in?

To begin with, Christ wants to start by fixing us.

Jesus came to live in this world as one of us and show us how we were always meant to live. He demonstrates what it means to be human, while simultaneously giving us a reference for what it means to be godly. He was, and is God, who lived as one of us, showing us how we might behave, love, interact, and aspire to live like God.

In an important sense, Jesus re-lived all of human history - resisted every kind of temptation, confronted every kind of eveil, even figuratively re-enacted every one of humanity's great failings up until that point without, himself, failing - and showed us what God has always intended for his people and his world.

This brings us back to our original question (what is Advent?), with new insight. Advent is not just about "coming," but about the coming of a savior to heal the wounds of the world caused by sin.

Advent, then, is a new beginning for humanity - a new starting point for the future - and a new opportunity to live life the way it was meant to be enjoyed by God.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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