Advent begins on Sunday. Advent is about preparation. We prepare ourselves to celebrate the Incarnation, the coming of Jesus.
Advent is also about anticipation. We look forward to the end of the ages, when Christ shall come again. Advent is the season when we echo the cry of the early church: Maranatha, Come O Lord. Advent is the time of year when we read with longing Jesus words in the second last verse of the Bible, Revelation 22:20: “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Advent assures us that our God is Lord, sovereign, in charge, and triumphant. He stepped into history to redeem us, and he will reign supreme over history when he resurrects us to eternal life. No matter what we see happening in this world, this nation, our city, our family, our lives, all will be OK. Christ is triumphant!
How should we respond? Listen to a parable Jesus told in Matthew 25:1-13.
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
The foolish virgins forgot to prepare. They thought everything would happen according to their expectations and time-tables. They were wrong. The wise virgins were prepared. They knew they had no control over when the bridegroom would come, so they took what was needed in case they had to wait. Like the wise virgins, faithful, daily discipleship is how we respond to Advent. We “trim our lamps” by remaining diligent in our worship, eager in our witness, and humble in our walk with Jesus.
In the end, Advent is an attitude. It’s a way of living, thinking, believing, trusting, and praying that is not swayed by external circumstances or personal agendas or momentary whims. Advent is the attitude that is rooted in the two glorious truths of Christianity: Jesus came, born as one of us, to die and be raised victorious; and Jesus will come again, and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord.
As we approach Christmas, may the Lord fill us with confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and flood our live with his hope, peace, joy, and love.
視頻大意翻譯(Brief video Chinese translation):
耶穌降臨節在周日開始。 當我們聽到降臨節時，我們想到的是裝飾聖誕樹，包裝聖誕禮物，打開降臨節日歷。 在某種程度上，這些都離降臨節的真相不遠。 將臨期是關於預備，我們為慶祝道成肉身即耶穌的到來而準備。
將臨期也是關於期待。 我們期待著時代的結束，基督將再次到臨。 然後，當他的榮耀再來時，邪惡將被摧毀，死亡不再存在，萬物將被置於基督之下。 將臨期是我們呼應早期教會呼聲的季節。 Maranatha, Come O Lord 將臨期是一年中我們滿懷憧憬地讀啟示錄22： 20中耶穌的話：“是的，我快要來了”。
因此，將臨期向我們保證，神是主，他是主宰，他是掌管者，他是勝利者。 他走進歷史來救贖我們，當他復活我們得永生時，他將成為歷史的最高統治者。無論我們看到在這個世界、這個國家、我們的城市、我們的家庭、我們的生活中發生什麼，我們毫不懷疑，有一個承諾，那就是一切都會好起來。 基督是勝利的！
我們應該如何回應？ 在馬太福音25章1-13節，耶穌講了一個比喻。 是這樣的。
愚蠢的童女們忘記了準備。 他們以為一切都會按照他們的期望和時間表發生。 他們錯了。 聰明的童女有準備。 知道他們無法控制新郎何時到來，所以他們帶著需要的東西，以備需要的等待。 看，忠心的、每天的門徒訓練就是我們對降臨節的回應方式。 我們藉著在敬拜中保持勤奮，在見證中保持熱情，在與耶穌同行中保持謙卑，來 “修剪我們的燈”。 最後，降臨節是一種態度。 它是一種生活、思考、相信、信任和禱告的方式，不受外在環境或個人議程或一時的心血來潮所左右。 將臨期是一種態度，它植根於基督教的兩個榮耀的真理。 耶穌來了，出生成為我們當中的一員，死而復生，取得勝利; 耶穌將再次降臨，萬膝都要跪下，萬口都要承認他是主。
Grace and peace