Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, the season on the Christian calendar that anticipates Christmas. “Advent” means “something’s coming,” “something’s about to arrive.”
We call it “Advent season” because the Christian church takes this time of the year to intentionally do what all of creation is doing. Creation is enslaved, held captive. Sin and Death hold the world in their grip, and we all feel it. Life hurts. We get depressed. Our bodies break down, or they just break. People hurt us, reject us, people hurt themselves. Families fall apart.
We’ll sing “O Holy Night,” with the line, “Long lay the world in sin and error, pining . . .”
In this condition, what is creation doing?
It is waiting. It is longing. It is expecting. A long time ago the people of God were waiting for their Redeemer, the One who was promised, who would come and deliver God’s people from oppression and captivity. God sent Jesus into the world to provide salvation, to make God’s initial move to reclaim his world. So we celebrate Christmas.
But we celebrate not only the singular day that commemorates the arrival of the Son of God, we participate in the entire Advent season, since we still find ourselves in a posture of waiting. We are waiting for the return of Jesus to come and save, to redeem us from oppression and save us from our brokenness and sin. We are waiting for God to come back and fix the world finally and forever.