Advent is an ancient custom of the church. It is a time of waiting and anticipation. During this time we are invited in the readings from Isaiah to remember the Old Testament waiting for the messiah to come to rescue God’s people. We also find ourselves joining with Christians around the world as we eagerly anticipate the return of Christ on the Day of the Lord.
Since the fourth century, Christians have been observing this time of Advent as a period of fasting and penitence. As the darkness of winter crushes the spirit, I seize this moment to also be reminded that my sin is crushing me. Humanity is filled with a darkness that we cannot find our way out and so we need a new light to shine in this darkness. This time of preparation in Advent is a time to remember our need for the divine promises of God to be filled. The candles of the Advent wreath gradually are lit during this season and the fullness of God’s promises are anticipated.
It is in the midst of the winter darkness and my own sinfulness that I marvel that God would take upon himself our humanity. Jesus is the incarnation, the coming in the flesh, of our Lord God. As dark in death our sin has brought us, we are invited to rejoice that God has become flesh and dwelled among us. Even as I remember during this time of preparation my own sinfulness, I also rejoice that God has come to dwell among His people and rescue us lost and condemned sinners.