Over the next four weeks we enter into the season of advent. During Advent we looks back upon Christ’s coming as an infant at Christmas in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, one of my favourite advent hymns “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
While Israel would have sung the song in expectation of Christ’s first coming, we now sing the song in commemoration of that first coming and in expectation of the second coming in the future. One of the catechisms captures this beautifully: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’” As we study the first few pages of Luke’s gospel, my hope is that we might feel afresh the wonder of Christ’s birth and feel the groans of our longing hearts for the return of our great King Jesus.
As we grow together, James Hornby (Lead Minister)