December 1, 2016

Advent Celebrates Two Comings: The Incarnation and the Last Judgment

Theotokos

As we all know the four weeks before Christmas, also known as Advent, is a time of preparation and anticipation. We prepare our hearts and our souls to welcome Christ anew, remembering how God became man 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. Nativity scenes the world over commemorate the coming of the infant Jesus.

Through His Incarnation, Jesus: 1.) showed us in His words and deeds how to be His disciple; 2.) named twelve Apostles to help spread the Gospel throughout the world and build the Church on earth; 3.) set Peter apart, giving him primacy among the Apostles; 4.) instituted the Eucharist and also the priesthood to administer the sacraments, and; 5.) as the unblemished offering, paid the ransom for humanity's transgressions. In so doing, Jesus conquered sin and death, and opened up for us the gates of heaven and hope for everlasting life.

Thus, while Advent is a time of preparation in anticipation of Christmas, it points to something more. Christ did become human 2,000 years ago, But he will also come again in glory at the end of history Advent anticipates this second coming.

The birth of our Savior was and is an occasion of unrivaled joy for all of humanity. So to, will His second coming be a glory beyond our comprehension. In fact, the birth of Christ heralds His passion, death, and resurrection through which the world is redeemed and we are saved. Advent then truly celebrates not simply one coming but two. The mercy of Jesus prefigures the justice of Christ the King, our Creator, Lord and Judge of the universe. God's will is to restore all things in Christ so that fallen creation, set free from the slavery of sin, may render His majesty service and in union with the angels, ceaselessly proclaim His praise forevermore.

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