Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Luke 2:9-11 Advent

Luke 2:9-11
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Advent means “coming” and, simply put, Advent is the season when we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.
It is the time when we get our hearts ready for the greatest Christmas gift of all — namely, Jesus.

I’d like to try my best in this meditation by talking to you about the three comings of Christ at Christmas — the triple “Advents” of Our Lord.
If you don’t mind me saying it in a more poetic way, Our Lord comes to us in history, mystery, and majesty.

He came in history as the Holy Infant of Bethlehem.
He comes to us now in mystery — in word, sacrament, grace, and mercy.
He will come in majesty at the end of the world as judge of the living and the dead.

His Coming in History
Our Lord Jesus Christ came in history. This is, of course, the coming that drove the dreams of the faithful people of Israel, who had waited so eagerly and so long for the coming of the Messiah. What we try to do as the Church in Advent, in a small way, is to consolidate those centuries of waiting into four short weeks. And we’re reminded — guess what? — that God takes His sweet old time in fulfilling His promises.

God may have promised a Savior in the Garden of Eden. You bet He did. But He was slow in following through on that sacred promise. So that’s why we hear words such as “yearning,” “waiting,” “hoping,” “watching,” “longing,” “looking,” and “preparing” throughout this holy season. These words all become part of our Advent vocabulary at the sacred liturgy. But all that yearning, waiting, hoping, watching, longing, looking, and preparing — was it ever worth it when He finally did come, for as St. John the Evangelist records: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). There is His coming in history.

Now, granted, there’s really not all that much we can do to prepare for that first coming of Christ — His coming in history — because as a matter of fact, it has already taken place. But we can, during this Season of Advent, assume the posture of the expectant people of Israel and admit that we have a very real need for a Savior.

Did you get that? We sure do need a Savior!

Advent is an excellent time to prepare, to renew our faith that the baby whose birth we hail at Christmas is indeed the Savior of the World, the long-awaited Messiah — the One who can save us! Now, it might sound easy to make the admission that we need a Savior, but in reality it’s tough because most of us are sort of proud and feel rather self-sufficient, independent — in other words, we feel we’re able to take care of ourselves. We’re not beholden to anybody. We hardly need a Savior.

Yet if we are really honest with ourselves, we admit that there are certain things in our life that we just can’t fix. I need help. I happen to need a Savior — and there is good news! We happen to have the best Savior ever, who was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in history, on that first Christmas Day.

What we actually mean by Christ coming in history is that at a specific time and place, God became Man and entered the human drama. This is called the Incarnation — that is, Our Lord’s coming in history. Advent can be a great time to recollect our utter dependence and need for God made Man, who has broken into the history of the world, to save us.

Come, Lord Jesus!
There is a beautiful traditional prayer for the Season of Advent. It is a prayer that is found in the New Testament and in an ancient document of the early Church called the Didache. It is a simple prayer, but one that can be prayed anytime:

“Come, Lord Jesus!”
Repeat this prayer often during this Season of Advent and you will recognize with the eyes of faith that, in praying it sincerely, Our Lord has already answered it, will answer it, and will answer it again.
“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

Source: Excerpt from Advent Reflections: Come, Lord Jesus! by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan - The First Week of Advent: The Three Comings of Christ.

(The other Two ‘Comings’ of Christ hinted to above may be included in another email)

My wife mentioned another reflection of the scripture I sent out yesterday and that was both the manger and the tomb were ‘borrowed’.
Jesus had no belongings or possessions. He came into this world with nothing and left with nothing.

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