Sunday begins the Advent

Father Lawrence Heiney

Prepare our hearts, O Lord our God, for the coming of Christ your Son.

On the twenty-fifth we will celebrate the first coming of the Lord, the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We are being saved and we look forward to the second coming. Come Lord Jesus!

The Mass of the Christ was first celebrated in 325 AD. Our Christian ancestors wanted to celebrate Christ as our light in the darkness of the winter solstice. They celebrated the day as if it were another Sunday. Soon they introduced a time of preparation to prepare their hearts. While they prepared to celebrate the first coming, it was also a preparation for the second coming. They called the season Advent. Each of is to be looking forward to the second coming. “Come Lord Jesus!”

If Jesus would come on Dec. 21, would you be disappointed that Christmas would be cancelled?

Advent includes the four Sundays before Christmas. This Sunday (Dec. 3) begins Advent. Isaiah is the prominent figure for the first part. The imagery of Isaiah, that I find spectacular, draws wonderful pictures of the coming of the Lord.

Often we look at that coming with dread. Destruction descends on humanity. Isaiah responds to this sin and darkness with visions of hope and light. God comes to His people to raise them up.

Look at Isaiah 11, 1-10. The Lord God will send to us a Savior. His Spirit will be over Him. He will be anointed in the Spirit and will receive the gifts of the Spirit, “a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and His delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” O how this image prepares us for the coming of the Lord. This is Jesus and he has given to us these Gifts of the Spirit that we may prepare for the Second Coming when all will be in all (I Cor. 15, 28).

The second part of this passage then reveals to us the Kingdom that is to come. This picture each year appears on a few Christmas cards that I receive. “The wolf will lay die with the lamb…the calf and the young lion will browse together…the baby shall play by the cobra’s den.” At the coming of the Lord enmity will be destroyed and justice shall flourish. How can I be afraid of the coming of the Lord? My prayer is “Come Lord Jesus.”

Another image of the Coming of God into His creation is at Ish. 25, 6-10. This is the day when death will be destroyed forever. All the world will come to what is called the Eschatological Feast where “juicy, rich food and pure, choice wine” will be served. Tears are wiped away and we rejoice and are glad.

This is Advent. It is a time of hope; it is a time to recognize how with Christ joy has come to the world. In advent we are invited to focus on the consequences of the coming of the Lord. We understand that by His first coming we are empowered to move forward to welcome Him in the Second.

In these two passages from Isaiah I take note that it talks about gifts and wonderful foods. These gifts are of the Holy Spirit and the meal I presume is to be prepared by the Holy Angels. The Second Coming will be the ultimate Christmas Feast.

Father Lawrence Heiney