Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Luke 21:29-31

Dear Eastminster Friends,

The season of Advent is upon us; it is the beginning of the “Christian Year.” This special season helps us prepare our hearts as we recapitulate the coming of Christ in our lives and corporate worship. The word, advent, is Old English, from the Latin adventus ‘arrival’, from advenire, from ad- ‘to’ + venire ‘come.’ Practiced by the Church for some 1,500 years, Advent is almost as old as the celebration of Christmas itself (4th century origin). This is a period of spiritual preparations, in the same way that Lent precedes Easter. Even so, Advent is not well known, being swallowed up by our increasingly secularized culture of holiday merry-making. In the midst of all the season’s busyness, it is often hard to observe Advent. Perhaps, that is all the more reason to devote ourselves to its mes-sage.

The double meaning of Advent is well worth prayerful pondering. We prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth so that the gift of God’s love may be born anew in our lives, our homes, and in all of our relationships. We also look to-wards Christ’s coming again, or “Second Advent.” The Savior has come, born in Bethlehem, but Christ also is coming to usher in the Kingdom. We wait with hope and expectation for the new age of God’s reign when the will of God will be done “on earth as it is in heaven,” when swords will be beaten into plow-shares, when no one will be burdened by poverty or pained by hunger, when no one will be judged by race, when justice will “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).

The Bible bears witness to that deep longing in us—for something better to come, for justice to clear away all that is unfair, for righteousness to be the norm rather than the exception, for all that is wrong to be set right, for peace to reign on this earth. The scriptures also tell us there is great hope in Jesus, who came to make this vision a reality. In his coming in the flesh, Jesus Christ was God’s initiation of the fulfillment of this promise of a new heaven and a new earth. So, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let’s take the journey of Advent to get us there, waiting with hopeful expectation and growing excitement to see what God will do in, through, and with us

God bless you!

Fred Foy