On the one hand the lessons, music, and prayers invite Christians to anticipate the first birth of Jesus Christ. Historically this springs from the fact that the Church created the season as a parallel to Lent; just as the forty days of Lent prepare the Church for the feast of the Resurrection (Easter) so the four weeks of Advent fit us for the feast of the Incarnation (Christmas). The themes are hope, anticipation, being awake draw us into prayer.
On the other hand, Advent materials direct us to the second coming of Jesus, in judgment. From this perspective, like Lent, the themes of penitence, reconciliation, and accountability are stressed. Jesus is coming--be ready!
Over the next four weeks, members of the St. Stephen's community will be sharing with you reflections each day to assist you in preparing for Christ. For some, the themes of anticipation and hope, will hold sway. Others will call us to open eyed reflection on the implication of the coming of Christ into our current reality. Together they will invite us to be still in the midst of frenzy and know God. May you anticipate the coming of Christ with fullness and joy.