Advent Day 1
Psalm 146 · Isaiah 1:1-9
2 Peter 3:1-10
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you 2 that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. 3 First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” 5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 6 through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Something big is coming. Something apocalyptic is about to happen. Some people will be ready for it. Others won’t. Some will be awaiting the day. Others will doubt that such a day will ever come.
Today is the first day of Advent. Advent is about waiting, expecting, and getting ready. Advent is the time when we reflect on the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a time when we reflect and prepare for the second coming of the Lord. The word “advent” means “coming” (from the Latin adventus). For two thousand years the church has told the same story: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ willcome again.
We need Advent because we need to be reminded. Just as Peter reminds the church to “remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles.” Both the prophets and apostles told us that there would be a day when something big happens, a day when God will come near. He is the God who…executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoners free, opens the eyes of the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down, loves the righteous, watches over the immigrants, upholds the fatherless and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
If such a day is coming, it is easy to forget because it can often feel so far away. The wicked seem to be thriving all around us and marginalized voices continue to be marginalized. No matter how loud their voices get, it seems that their voices are doing very little to change the world around us. But God is not slow in dealing with the evil we experience daily. He is merely patient, and hoping that more will turn to him before that day when he finally brings the wicked to ruin.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” It will come and it will come (at least for many) unexpected. Like a thief, it will come unannounced.
So let us prepare ourselves. Let us prayerfully examine our ways and realign them with the coming king. And let us “Keep awake therefore, for we do not know neither the day nor the hour…” when the king shall return (Mt 25:13).
- Jon Ziegler
Confess to God the ways in which your life has not been aligned with his justice, righteousness, and love. Use the Psalm and the Isaiah passage as a means of reflecting on and measuring your own life.
Pray the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.