The word "Advent" means coming to, or arrival. We are now beginning our journey towards Christmas, and the gospel today invites us to reflect on the Second Coming of Christ. It seems to portray a picture of a frightening world, which resonates with what is happening today. When, however has there ever been a time when fearful things did not happen? On the other hand Christ’s words are reassuring because they speak of liberation, which echoes what the prophet Jeremiah has to say. Perhaps at the end of the church’s year it is a good time to look back on our past, see where God was leading us and how we responded. In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge was taken back into his early years so that he could learn lessons that would affect his future for the better.
When we light the first candle on the advent wreath, the prophecy candle, perhaps we sense a long distance to go before we celebrate the coming of Christ among us. “I see him but not now. I behold him but not near.” (Balaam’s prophecy, Numbers 24:17)
However, this sense of being a long way off is good. It is what a prophet such as Jeremiah must have felt, as he suffered through the exile to Babylon yet still looked forward to the fulfilment of God’s promise. Let us look back and look forward.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 22:13)