This Sunday marks the beginning of advent, in the church calendar even if not according to my advent calendar (I have to wait till tomorrow for the first chocolate :()
Its a time of preparation, of waiting for the coming of Jesus and making ready for his arrival. The gospel writers tell us to keep watch so that he ‘will not find you sleeping’. And at the end of his life, Jesus himself repeats the message, talking then not about his birth but about his coming in glory at the end of the age. What some refer to as the second coming. But what does this really mean for us?
Jesus tells us to prepare for the time when ‘heaven and earth will pass away’ and a new world will be born- the kingdom of God, in which he will rule in glory. Looking at it this way, are we really to sit back and simply wait and watch? Or will we be, as Jesus calls us to be, the founders of his kingdom on earth, here, today?
If we take on this responsibility, we begin to be able to approach the waiting of advent very differently. We are able to see the preparations as not just getting ready for Christmas and the birth of Christ, but being ready for the coming of his kingdom. And more than that, the kingdom becomes not something which is far off and yet to arrive, but something which is here in the present, which we ourselves are involved in bringing about.