This Sunday, we enter into the season of Advent... the beginning of a new cycle in the Christian church's worship life, and a season during which we prepare for the coming of Christ. Even as we make ready for the baby to be born in Bethlehem (what we'll celebrate during the Christmas season beginning on Christmas Eve), our focus during advent also takes us beyond the birth and even beyond the live, death, and resurrection of Jesus, to a new moment of expectancy as the "day of the Lord" approaches and we look for the coming again of Christ. In other words, in Advent we orient ourselves toward the coming of Christ in history, mystery, and majesty: the baby of Bethlehem, the glimpses of Christ's presence in our midst now, and the coming again of Christ in glory at the end of all times.
The First Sunday of Advent always has that long view most fully in mind, with stories that speak both of "fear and foreboding" of what is coming upon the world, and also expectation and hope for the coming again of Christ "in power and great glory." What is our call, our vocation, as people who live in these "between times"... times in which we know something of Christ's presence and yet are still waiting for the fullness of God's reign to take hold... ?