First Sunday of Advent

You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day.

Once and future coming

Advent is the celebration of the “Once and Future Coming” of our King, Jesus Christ. We prepare for the celebration of Christmas, where the Lord came in the flesh to save us and open up the way to Heaven.

But the point behind Advent is to radically reorient ourselves toward the future coming of Jesus. We often forget that this world, as beautiful and terrible as it might be, is not all there is, that we are made for the glory of the new heavens and the new earth. That Jesus is coming back–soon!–is a staple of authentic Christian spirituality. The prayer “Maranatha!” or “Come Lord Jesus!” is one of the last phrases proclaimed in the Book of Revelation and was a constant prayer in the daily lives and liturgies of the early Church and should be for us today.

Stay awake

But far too often, we as Christians live in a forgetfulness of the Second Coming of the Lord. We can become so busy with life, so enamored by material concerns, so distraught by our struggles, that we forget that we live in joyful and expectant hope for the return of Jesus our King.

So we say with Saint Paul that now is the time to wake from our sleep, to arise and live in the light, the truth of what we celebrate in these four weeks of Advent as well as the rest of the year: that our King is coming soon.