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Advent Awakenings (Week 3) – Joy and the Coming of the Lord

During their observance of the season of Advent, some Christians use an Advent wreath to mark the passing of the four-week period leading up to Christmas. The wreath has four candles, one for each week of Advent. Three of the candles are purple while a fourth candle is pink. Indeed, as we enter into this, the third week of the Advent Season, our attention is drawn to the pink candle in the Advent wreath. This candle that is now lit. That’s because the third Sunday of Advent has traditionally been called “Gaudete Sunday”, from the Latin word meaning “to rejoice”. The focus is on the celebration of the season.

So, what is it that we Christians have to celebrate during this Advent Season? Let’s remember that the word “advent” means “coming” or “arrival”. Thus the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first advent. It is also much more, for we celebrate His present Presence within us and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history.

It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to Him. That is the process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. Our joy is experienced in knowing that Jesus, the Word made flesh, indwells us and is our very Life in this “in between time”.

Perhaps the words of author David Adam in his book, Border Lands, sums up the joy of this third week of Advent:

“Too often we talk of Jesus as if He were a figure in history;
we speak of what He did, what He has done, as if it were all over
and finished with. We relegate Jesus to Palestine. But He is ‘loose
in the world.’ With the [saints of God who have gone before us],
we must learn to talk to Him rather than talk about Him.
We much discipline ourselves so that we talk of Him in the present tense:
‘Jesus is…’ It is good to make statements and affirmations
about Him in the present. Celebrate the Presence in the Present.
For [Jesus] is the Resurrection and He is here with us now.
Today, I arise in the strength of His Resurrection.”

An Advent Prayer

O God, we give thanks and rejoice as we remember the first Advent of Jesus’ coming over 2000 years ago. Enable us by Your grace to awaken to the awareness of Your indwelling, enabling Presence in our lives each day as we wait in joyful anticipation of the Second Advent of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Barry Grecu

About the Author

Barry Grecu is president and founder of Ministry Emmaus, Inc. located in Roswell, GA. He is a certified Christian counselor, spiritual director, life coach and retreat leader. Together with his wife Sandi he has a passion "to guide you into the life you have always wanted." For further information contact Barry at wbgrecu@juno.com.