For Sunday, December 2, 2012
Year C, First Sunday of Advent
This is a big day in the life of lectionary devotees as we move from the Season After Pentecost of Year B to the Advent of Year C. The Revised Common Lectionary takes us through the entire Bible once per year over a three year cycle (Years A, B, and C) with each year focusing on different passages. I find this to be a wonderful discipline to cultivate and rhythm to follow.
An ‘Advent’ is the arrival of something very important. The Advent in this case is the arrival of the long-predicted Messiah. It is Jesus and he arrived on our terrestrial ball around 4 B.C. (Before Christ). The question of how Jesus could have been born before the calendar based on his life allows will have to be taken up at another time.
Jer. 33:14-16 is one of the key biblical references to the Advent of Christ. God says a day is coming when he will fulfill the promise he made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah which was that someone from King David’s line would emerge who would restore righteousness to Judah, Israel, and the temple.
Jesus did this when he came, not in the way expected of Messiah, but he did bring righteousness to Judah and Israel, and was himself the restored temple (“Destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it.”). The ultimate restoration of the Promised Land, whose meaning itself was expanded in Jesus to include the place where God himself reigns, awaits the Second Advent of Messiah.
The most important consideration however for us is on a personal level. Jesus restores our righteousness. He gives us a place of safety and security in which to live. We have a taste of this now but we have not yet experienced its fullness which will come in heaven. What this passage and the Advent of Christ in general ought to do is bring is to a place of grace, freedom, rejoicing, and consecration. Jesus is God’s Big Reveal and it is in our relationship with Him that we will discover all that we were intended to be and do.