First Week of Advent
by Regina Siegfried, ASC
To say that Advent is a season of waiting is to overstate the obvious. A closer examination of the sequencing of readings for Advent indicates that the first two weeks are rather apocalyptic and ominous in tone while the second two weeks lead us to a consideration of the Incarnation. The first three Sundays treat us to readings from the prophet Isaiah, one of the lyrical poets of the Hebrew Scriptures whose comforting and consoling words cheer us through the early darkness and early winter days of Advent.
Today’s Gospel reading from Mark sets the tone of watchfulness and waiting. It opens and closes with short imperatives: “Be watchful! Be alert! … Watch!” The servants left in charge of the household wait for the owner’s return, not knowing when that will be. Paul, in the reading from First Corinthians, urges his church to “wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But the questions still gnaw: why are we waiting, and whom do we expect? Don’t we already know the answers: we wait for God’s coming, and we expect Jesus. Yes, but there’s more. We know the story of God’s loving involvement in human history. We know the Jesus event and the Spirit’s constant breathing in our Church, that gentle hand on our backs that nudges us ever Godward. The holy days of Advent with their haunting songs and readings remind us that we only think we know why we wait and whom we expect.
Advent is a time when justice can flourish in our days We wait to see the presence of Jesus in those we serve and we expect Him to walk with us through these calming days of Advent.