On the first Sunday of Advent we talked of waiting. Israel waited thousands of years for the promised Messiah. The first hint of promise came after the fall. Abraham, who lived some 2500 years before Jesus, was told an heir would bless all men. David, who lived 1000 years before Jesus, was told his heir would occupy the throne forever. So today, as we light the first candle of Advent, we to continue to wait. Jesus is coming again.
The second Sunday of Advent focused mystery. Humans love mystery, so long as we can have quick resolution of that mystery. Generally, we prefer to know. We want to know how things work. We want to why things are as they are. We wonder who is responsible, or when we can expect something to happen. “What is the end game?” is a commonly asked question. Advent reminds us that while we understand the who, Jesus Christ, and some of the why, because God loves us, and part of the how, the cross, the rest is pretty much a mystery. Advent invites us to celebrate, even revel, in the mystery.
Redemption was the third theme of this Advent. At the core of the gospel message is redemption. God, who created it all, sends his son to bring us back into relationship with him.
The final candle of Advent was about incarnation. “For God so loved the world that he sent his only son.” If the story of Advent could be summed up in one verse, this is it. God sent his son. How he came is essential. He came as a human. No small feat for God. He came as a baby. He came as a carpenter. He came as one of us.
Tonight we gather to light the Christ candle. Through his incarnation Jesus brings us redemption. So much of the message has been, and continues to be a mystery. It is a mystery we wait to be fully revealed. Advent shines a bit of light, candle light, on this long awaited mystery which brings us back into relationship with our Father.