This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent a Sunday when we celebrate the Hope we have in Jesus Christ.

However, if we look at the readings selected by the lectionary for Sunday we may be hard pressed to find hope embedded in these messages. Instead in Luke’s gospel we are given a glimpse of destruction. We are told to be on guard, to be alert. These images do not fill me with hope, rather they may instead instill a sense of fear and dread.

The reading from Jeremiah points to a future hope. However, when this passage was written hope seemed a fleeting thought in the mind of the Israelites. Jerusalem is about to be conquered and her people sent to live in exile.

These are hardly the images we think of when we consider Christmas. At Christmas we want to think of angels and shepherds, wise men and their gifts. Of a baby born in the manger, a baby who will bring peace.

This is the challenge of Advent. It is a time of preparation, a time when we must encounter elements in life which we find unsettling. However, we do this in order to receive the gift of Jesus Christ.

Text: Jeremiah 33: 14-16 and Luke 21: 25-36

Questions for Sunday

  • How do images of Christ’s second coming help prepare us to celebrate his birth?
  • What steps can you take in order to plan for Christ’s birth?

Prayer for Sunday

Heavenly Father, open my eyes that I may see. Open my ears that I may hear. Open my heart that I may love. May I be guided by your love, may the Holy Spirit infuse me with life in order that I may lose it in Jesus Christ. Amen.