Today is the first Sunday of advent, the first Sunday on the Church year calendar. So, happy new year! We have celebrated the harvest, including its spiritual dimension by looking forward to the harvest of souls at the end of time. We give thanks to God for His coming consummation of history. We now begin the saga of redemptive history at page 1, where we are dead in our sins, left out in the cold and the dark, in the bleak mid-winter. We sit in darkness, like every weeknight these days, but we will soon see a great light, the fulfillment of centuries of promises about a coming Messiah to deliver us. Our culture gets much wrong about the Christmas season. One thing they get right is the expectation. Advent is about expectation. The whole Old Testament is built pointing to something more coming.
I grew up in a church that was reviving the celebration of advent, but there was a good deal of suspicion of it being too Catholic, or just not Scriptural. Properly done, advent reminds us of our Lord’s first coming, and prepares for His 2nd coming. There is nothing inherently violating Scripture in this, and so we will sing Christmas hymns and carols during advent, and there will be references now and then in the service and sermon. Christmas is our holiday, and we don’t have to give it up just because the world corrupts it.