Simply put, during the season of Advent, the Church prepares for the commemoration of the Incarnation (Christmas) by anticipating the Second Coming of the Christ as Judge.
Before I go too far with that word, "judgment" or "judge," let's clarify what that means. Metaphors from human legal systems start to break down pretty quickly when dealing with Yahweh and his creation. His justice is restorative. The anticipation of judgment is not a simple picture of faithful people being rewarded while the unfaithful and faithless recieve punishment (most of us have a very thin, medieval idea of this, anyway) but one of the Judge of all the earth showing up on center state to "put things to rights."
In his return, God's Viceroy will consummate the restoration of humanity that was begun at the Incarnation and continues now in his Church.
Living in anticipation of this is not a matter of simple excitement or holy dread, but continuing to cooperate and welcome his healing as it flows from the future into the present. It means naming the dark places of our lives in the fellowship of the Church, and allowing our confessions of brokenness to be taken up into our sacramental life while the Spirit rushes in to fill the voids and re-create what has been destroyed.
This is the whole point, dear friends; this is what justice of God means. It is the complete restoration of all human life, in all aspects, to its fullness.
I offer a previous reflection, "The Advent Hope." Peter White reminds us that the dating of Christmas isn't just about supplanting a pagan festival, but maintains a marked theological agenda: "This is the day the tide turns." Finally, while + Alan isn't dealing with Advent specifically in this, he offers us some good reflections from Karl Rahner on sanctifying time.
2 weeks ago