Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. It is the beginning of a rich season of anticipation and preparation. The word Advent means “arrival” or “coming.”
For centuries Christians have used the month prior to the celebration of Christ’s incarnation to ready their hearts and their homes for the great festival.
Advent is a time to consider our lives in light of our calling. We will be busy with many things in the weeks ahead, but let us not be too busy to consider the magnificent descent of God for us in human flesh. Let’s place ourselves in the story of our forefathers and walk with them as they sung and hoped for their redeemer.
As is customary, we make a few alterations in our bulletins. We have a different confession of sins, and at certain moments during the Pastoral Prayer, the pastor will conclude each section with Father, Hear Our Prayer, to which you will respond: for Your Steadfast Love Endures Forever-a common refrain from Psalm 118. After the pastoral prayer, we will stand and sing the Lord’s Prayer for the next four weeks rather than merely reciting it.
In this season, we will sing great hymns of expectations; great hymns pertaining to Christ’s coming for us. This will cause us to anticipate even more the season ahead. The best way to prepare for the coming of the Lord is to make straight His pathway in our hearts. Let us do so even now as we pray:
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever faithful to your promises and ever close to your Church: the earth rejoices in hope of the Savior’s coming and looks forward with longing to his return at the end of time. Prepare our hearts and remove the sadness that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope which his presence will bestow, for he is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.