This Advent Sunday is a very important day for the Church. It marks the beginning of the Church’s Year but is also the first day of the Season of Advent, the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ in four weeks time. But the actual word ‘Advent’ brings a sense of urgency into this period of spiritual preparation.
The word Advent (Latin: adventus) means coming, and it focuses upon the need for Christians to be prepared not only for the coming of another Christmas, but for the Second Coming of our Lord when he shall return in glory to judge the world. And so St. Paul emphasises to the Christians at Rome the need to bring a sense of urgency into their lives so that God will always find them alert and ready and doing his will.
The doctrine of the Second Coming is important for Christians. It is part of the profession of faith we make in reciting the Creeds. Each time we share in the Holy Communion we are reminded that this Service is “ a perpetual memory of his precious death until he comes again.” And even more to the point, each time we take the Lord’s Prayer on our lips we pray for Christ’s return when we say “thy Kingdom come.”
But it is not for us to speculate about our Lord’s coming, or to engage in the making of doleful prophecies about when it is to take place. People who do a lot of speculating usually do not get much work done! Our business as Christians is to apply ourselves to God’s work and the extension of God’s Kingdom of love and compassion and peace.