Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the start of the Church year.
Only the Christian would call the approaching darkness and gloom a ‘beginning’.
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 22:27-28
Advent, like Lent, is typically purple. Why? Why conjure that magnificent, majestic darkness to describe the coming of the Great Light? The readings associated with the coming of Christmas are echoes of the hopes and desires of an ancient people. Primitive, bronze-age sages crying out over and over again for liberation, in tongues all but forgotten. These desires and prayers find themselves uttered generation after generation amongst the Hebrew people, God’s people.
God answers back.
He is rousing himself to come to the aid of his desperate people. He is moving in wonder and power. He is acting to save the whole world.
Is this is a good thing?
Advent is the time to heed the warning and come in fear before God, for he comes in Christ to judge the whole earth and restore all things to the glory for which they were destined.
If God is coming on behalf of those in despair, those in suffering, those who have been crushed by the powerful of this world, who do you suppose his judgement will be against?
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
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.
Last Judgment, 1617, Rubens, Peter Paul,