Advent, the four weeks set aside in the church calendar to prepare for Christmas, is my favorite season. It reorients me in time, reminding me that we live in the brief interval between Christ’s birth and Christ’s return. It really is a brief moment in the grand scheme of things, even though Christ’s birth was more than 2000 years ago. As the first Letter of Peter puts it, God is not slow as we think of slow–to God a thousand years is like a day.
Christ’s birth as a human being reconsecrated our lives, bringing love and healing and forgiveness. Our lives are sacred–we were created by God to live in love with God and one another, and to be caretakers of the earth, tending and tilling it. Christ recalls us to our original holiness and blessedness, our sacred vocation to live wholly for love.
The transformation that began with God’s startling appearance as a human being will someday be complete. To me, this is the significance of Christ’s second coming. Our hearts will be made new as everything that is not love falls away.
God is with us in the past, present and future–and when we glimpse that larger picture, the present takes on a new meaning. At every moment, the power of love is at work in the world, bringing renewal and transformation. Advent awakens us to God’s presence, here, now and always and awakens us to our part in that transformation.