Prepare for his coming in glory

By | December 7, 2011

The sights, sounds and characters of Advent reflect the (positive) tension of this time, helping us celebrate Christ’s presence today and calling us to prepare for his coming in glory at the end of time. During the first three weeks, the readings and prayers focus on the promises of the final “day of the Lord.” We are exhorted to be “watchful, alert and ready to meet the bridegroom when he comes.” Isaiah foretells a time when “the glory of the Lord will be [fully] revealed.” And this week the prophet describes the “the Lord’s anointed [who] will bring glad tidings and proclaim liberty.”

For us who believe, the promises have been fulfilled and the Messiah has come. God’s glory has been revealed in Jesus Christ and the Lord’s Anointed is in our midst. So why do we watch and wait?

Each year, we celebrate Advent to remember the past, but also to live in readiness now because we know that the best is yet to come. We just don’t know the day or the hour.

During this time we sing about “The Coming of our God,” and pray “Come O Long-Expected Jesus,” “O Come Divine Messiah,” and “Savior of the Nations, Come.” We encourage each other, “Wake, Awake, and Sleep no Longer.” If you just heard the titles, it would seem as if we were waiting for someone still distant. And yet the lyrics tell a different story.

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” recalls Christ’s birth at Bethlehem, but also prays that we who are in this in-between time might be sustained as we wait for and work for the fullness of that kingdom.

Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free.

From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.

Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king.

Born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.

The same message is evident in the Advent evening hymn, “Creator of the Stars of Night.”On this third Sunday, we hear John the Baptist singing his constant message: “Let the valleys be raised and the mountains made low, every meadow and field overturn; make the pathway straight and the highway run smooth for the coming of God in our day.” John had a clear sense of his role as one who points to another and serves as a model for us in leading others to Christ. This week as we sing, “O Come Emmanuel,” let it be with faith in the Lord already in our midst, and with a deep longing for the time when he shall be all in all.

When this old world drew on toward night, you came; but not in splendor bright.

Not as a monarch, but the child of Mary, blameless mother mild.

Come in your holy might we pray, redeem us for eternal day;

On this third Sunday, we hear John the Baptist singing his constant message: “Let the valleys be raised and the mountains made low, every meadow and field overturn; make the pathway straight and the highway run smooth for the coming of God in our day.” John had a clear sense of his role as one who points to another and serves as a model for us in leading others to Christ. This week as we sing, “O Come Emmanuel,” let it be with faith in the Lord already in our midst, and with a deep longing for the time when he shall be all in all.

Sr. Rehrauer is the diocesan director of Evangelization, Living Justice and Worship.


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