Over the past centuries the liturgy of the church has developed a spirituality particularly for Christians during Advent. Both the Sunday liturgies and the daily Scripture readings have been designed to direct our journey into the Advent experience of the mystery of Christ. Our parents in the faith have chosen Scriptures that accent three Advents: the Advent of Christ coming into our own lives, the Advent of Christ's physical birth in Bethlehem, and the Advent of his second coming at the end of history. While the liturgies and daily readings of Advent begin with the second coming and move as in a funnel toward the first coming, we are called to a vital personal encounter with Christ through all the readings. As we prepare to be enriched by the Advent liturgies and our personal daily readings, it will be helpful for us to think about how we should journey through the season.
Meditating on the Second Coming
The spirituality of Advent calls us to start our journey in expectation of the second coming of Christ. The end time is the period in history when the work of Christ will be consummated, when the powers of evil will be put away forever, when the earth will be restored to the golden age described by Isaiah and St. John (see Isa. 65; Rev. 20-22). How is this hope for a future restoration of the world to guide our meditation?
First, the hope of a world restored under God proclaims that evil is not the final word. If we were to read only the newspaper accounts of murder, espionage, violence, wars, and the like, we would have only a negative view of the world. If we were to visit the hospitals with the terminally ill, the psychiatric wards with the mentally deranged, or the prisons filled with lawbreakers, we would see the world ...