BE PREPARED, for He is coming! This is Advent’s message to us and to the world. The word advent means “the arrival of a notable person or thing.” That person is the Word of God made flesh in Jesus Christ. God is fulfilling His promise, as we heard in our reading from Jeremiah, “The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah.”
However, Advent also means the Second Coming of Christ, as King and judge of all. We also heard in our reading from Jeremiah, “he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe, and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: ‘The LORD our justice.’” Jeremiah lived during Israel’s exile in Babylon. The Israelites may have thought that he spoke of their earthly Jerusalem, but we know that our Lord of justice will bring us the safety of the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of heaven.
We are called to be a part of the New Jerusalem, by staying prepared, by growing spiritually in Christ, the Light of the World. We grow spiritually in Christ when we treat others as He does, with care and compassion. This takes away our fright of what is to come, just as it did for the martyrs who gave their lives for Christ. When we prepare for the coming of Christ, when we recognize the signs of His coming, we can stand straight, secure in our faith, our hope, and our love of God and each other, knowing that we have strived for holiness in this life, in order to receive it abundantly in eternal life.
Today, the Advent Wreath has one candle lit, the lowest on the stand. Each week of Advent we will light another candle, one level higher than the previous week. The increased brightness of each additional candle lit, represents the increasing brightness of the coming of the Light of the World, our Lord, Jesus Christ at Christmas.