"The Church calendar (the sequence of six seasons built around the most sacred days of Jesus’ life) is a tool that can teach us to wait expectantly for Jesus and his day. This is especially the intent of the season of Advent. The Christian year begins here – with the four Sundays before Christmas Day and the weeks in between them. For almost four weeks every year, followers of Jesus prepare to celebrate his coming into the world, his “advent,” with waiting. We anticipate Christ’s birth (his first advent) during this first season, so that our entire year will be governed by a hopeful anticipation of his return (his second advent), through a practical, daily preparation for it.
In corporate worship and daily devotions during Advent, we read of ancient Israel’s longing for the Messiah as foretold by the prophets, especially John the Baptist as the last of their order. With them we pray that our eyes would be opened to behold the darkness in the world so that we can lament its suffering and repent for our willing participation in the shadows of sin. As the season continues, shadows and sorrows shrink as light grows, especially in Mary. In her the Light of the world lives and grows. Eventually his birth brings forth the possibility of rebirth and new life for anyone who, like the shepherds in the Gospels, would come to him and give thanks, rejoicing at the angels’ message that “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ (Messiah) the Lord.” We read and identify with Mary during Advent, so we might believe that (and live like!) the same Light lives and grows within us, as we wait throughout all our days for the time of deliverance at his second coming..."
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