Dec. 2, 2012
First Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16
1Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28,34-36

Advent is the start of the new liturgical year. At the beginning of a new year, I always become a little nostalgic. I seem to focus primarily on the past and its relationships, successes and failures. Today, though, this is the beginning of the liturgical year and I have a strong sense of “God time.” I think about what time must be for God. Naturally, we know little about what it means to be eternal but that doesn’t mean that we cannot imagine. I like to think about the “all-at-once-ness” of God and to know that when he looks at me he sees my past, my present and my future “all at once.”  I like the idea that he doesn’t simply step in and out of history but that he is ever present. When Jesus became incarnate, all of history became a God event.  I like the idea that the Church focuses its calendar on the historical presence of Jesus beginning with our anticipation of our celebration of the time when heaven and earth were joined in the birth of a baby.

Even though we will hear “Christmas is for children” again and again in the coming weeks, the richness of the Advent season is reserved for adults who recall Christ’s presence in history, in mystery and in majesty. At each Eucharist, we are reminded of Christ who comes in mystery, and the Gospel today reminds us that he will come in majesty. One of St. Luke's goals in writing his Gospel was to answer the believers of his time whose question was, "Why has the kingdom not come?"

Jeremiah tells us that the days “are coming,” and St. Paul reminds us that we ourselves must make greater progress. Luke brings to mind the security and stability that must be ours no matter the lack of firmness that surrounds us. All of this points to the fact that Jesus is always coming and is here already. It reminds us that Advent and Christmas are not simply a remembrance and something we do. They are a way of being for us, and humankind’s happy anticipation is not meant to end abruptly. Once more, it reminds me of God’s “all-at-once-ness.”

We sometimes regard Advent as having meaning only because it will lead to the celebration of Christmas. In truth, most of us realize that Jesus is with us always and always coming…no matter what the season. We simply don’t think about it very often. Advent is an opportunity to intensify our sense of Jesus coming.

Today’s liturgy brings these thoughts together and we give thanks and praise for the gift of Jesus—in history, in mystery, and in majesty.