On the first Sunday of Advent we looked at Simeon. He was a devout and righteous man, who was in the temple the day Mary and Joseph presented Jesus. He had received a promise that he was to see the promised one. As we light the first candle, we hear his words, Jesus was to be, and is, the salvation of Israel, and the world.
The second Sunday of Advent brought us to the first chapter of John, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Those simple words of John convey the great miracle of the Advent. God joined us. He became one of us. His love for us, and the Father’s love for us, brought him into our world so that we could join him in his world. As we light the candle, we celebrate the incarnation.
The third Sunday of Advent focused on a woman named Anna. She was a widow and aged. She was a prophetess, telling anyone and everyone who would listen that this baby was to be the redemption of Jerusalem, indeed the world. We belonged to another but God wanted us to belong to him, so he paid the ransom. As we light the candle, we acknowledge that we have been redeemed.
Our final Sunday of Advent was about expectation. John the Baptist wondered if Jesus was the one, or was someone else coming. He was and is the one. One of the messages of Advent is that the expectation is not over. The story does not end here, on Christmas (or Easter). The story of Advent is still being written. For 2000 plus years pages have been added and it will continue until he comes again.
Tonight we gather to light the Christ candle. The other themes lead us to this moment, the Christmas moment. Salvation has been accomplished, incarnation is celebrated, redemption is ours. And today we look expectantly to the moment when he once again comes for his own, for us.