1st Sunday of Advent

1st Sunday of Advent Readings:

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
Isaiah 64:1-9
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37
(Common English Bible)

"Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son, Jesus Christ, came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen." - Collect for the First Sunday in Advent, BCP

The season of Advent begins today. It is a season that reminds us that someone special has come and is coming again to redeem the world. What a great message; what a great reminder! This morning, as I pray and read the scriptures, I am grateful about the Lord's presence in my life - that he is with me and has never left me. I am thankful that the Lord hears me and has always heard me. Yet, Who am I?, I think, that the Lord should hear me, I am nobody, especially before the Lord. I become wholly aware of my broken and degenerate self, and overwhelmed with emotion realizing the Lord's abounding faithfulness in how he is redeeming me. I am broken and have sat in darkness, but the Lord is our light; he will not leave us nor forsake us; he is coming back to fully redeem this world and his people - this is the Advent message today.

"Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
Make your face shine
  so that we may be saved!

"Revive us
so that we can call on your name.
  Restore us,
Lord God of heavenly forces!
  Make your face shine
so that we can be saved!
(Ps. 80: 7, 18, 19) 

"From ancient times,
no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any god but you
who acts on behalf of
those who wait for him!"
(Isa. 64: 4)

"That is, you were made rich through him in everything: in your communication and every kind of knowledge ... The result is that you aren't missing any spiritual gift while you wait for our Lord to be revealed."        
(1 Cor. 1:5, 7)

"Nobody knows when that day or hour will come ... therefore, stay alert! Don't let him show up when you weren't expecting and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: Stay Alert!"
(Mark 13: 32-37)

Before the Lord today, I feel the weight of my need for him. In his presence, my blemishes become more visible to me. I am grateful to be here, yet unworthy. And the Lord reassures me of his promise: that Christ has redeemed me and is still redeeming me. Advent brings this promise of hope. This world is broken and sinful - I believe we all are somehow aware of this, even if only in our deep subconscious. The message of Advent and the expectation of Christ's second coming reminds us to have hope and to keep waiting, knowing full well that our Lord will not disappoint. It's in waiting that we are perfected. May you be encouraged to keep waiting and may the promises found in the scriptures reenergize you to stay awake so that when the "the head of the household" arrives, he will not find you sleeping and not expecting him.


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