First Sunday of Advent
We use the word “advent” to describe the Messiah’s entry into the world. The word means “coming” or “visit.” Jews like Simeon rejoiced at the “coming” of Jesus when Mary brought her baby boy to the temple. What was the joy about during that time? “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel,” Simeon said (Luke 2:31–32).
God hadn’t spoken anything new to the children of Israel for hundreds of years, but now, with the sight of Jesus in the temple, God was speaking again. It was a sight for sore eyes, and I believe that as Simeon looked at the baby Jesus that day, he saw a forecast of what was to come: that soon those who have hungered and thirsted for righteousness would be filled; soon those who have suffered for God would be rewarded; soon this Messiah would set things right.
Jesus began that work right away as he made the lame to walk and the blind to see and as he planted the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of all those who would turn to him and believe. But Jesus also told us of a time to come, of a “new heaven and a new earth” in which God would dwell with his people and wipe every tear from their eyes (Revelation 21:4). That is the second coming we have to look forward to. That is the “redemption” Jesus refers to in today’s passage.
Until then, we are to work the works of him who sent us. We are to serve the Lord with all our heart and seek to honor him with all our life, for there is no greater master we could possibly serve!
Garritt Fleming, co-pastor, Schoeneck Moravian Church
Nazareth, Pennsylvania The Moravian Church