Thursday, 2 February, 2023
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The Advent season and what it requires of us (part-1)

Reverend Martin Adhikary

The Advent season and what it requires of us (part-1)

The Period during the four Sundays immediately preceding to the traditional Christmas day (25 December) churches all around the world observe what is called “Advent Season”. Thus the four Sundays are Advent Sundays. The English word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word ‘Adventus’, meaning ‘arrival’ or ‘coming’. This is a season observed by Christians for preparation for the arrival of Christ into this world. Christ came to the world: we need to come to him. In order to come to welcome our Savior Christ within our minds and hearts we need to prepare ourselves. So the ‘Advent month or season’ is dedicated to spiritual preparation for Christmas.

 It is a season of solemn preparation for welcoming Christ for the believers in meditation, prayer, homilies and reformation of our minds and hearts. Pope Benedict the XVI said, “Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in this season the whole Church is called to be hope, for itself and for the world”.  Christians are supposed to welcome Christ in their lives. God came to this world and dwelt among in human form and likeness and preached to Good news of the rule or Kingdom of God in all of Creation. But we also believe that he is also coming back to this world in eternal glory as the Ruler, the King and the Judge. Advent is verily a season of prayers and meditation to prepare for meeting him.

Speaking about Jesus Christ the great apostle Paul wrote to the Church in the city of Colossae, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him , and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven , by making peace through his blood,  shed on the cross ” (Colossians 1: 15-20). This particular passage from the Holy Scripture was perhaps a doxological hymn sung in the early Church. This praises Christ, the unique divine-human being. He is the only begotten Son of God coming to fully show God’s love and grace for fallen mankind. Christ is the image of God, who is invisible. His Supremacy is manifested in two ways: he is the first born of all creation of God and is the first born from among the dead. He is the supreme in Creation and also in redemption. The epistle of Paul to the Christians in the first century Church at Colossae was written to express this truth about Christ, the Savior of the World against some syncretistic and as such heretical teachings.

Today we face so many problems because of our lust and pride. We need to understand that God came in human form to this world, where there is hatred, jealousy, pride and all that beset humanity in all imaginable ways and manners. Jesus Christ, God incarnate came in human flesh so that he could die. He died and unjust death at the hands of sinful men. He had to die as the penalty for sin of mankind, as the payment for the redemption from sin. Man is alienated from God, from fellowman, from nature and man from our inner selves. Christ came to this world to reconcile all with all. We can rightly welcome him only when we clear our minds and hearts, our thoughts and selfishness and   kinds of ungodliness. When a government boss visits us we spare no pains to make all preparations. Likewise we need to make right kind of preparations, preparation with humility and adoration, for the visit of Christ, whom we adore as the King of Kings! We ought not to have any fig leaf of excuse in this!

When we think about preparations for Christ’s coming to this sin-sick world we need to reckon with all things that God himself did through the ages. Here we discuss some of the main steps that we find God took to accomplish his purpose of salvation of man from sin.  Immediately after Man fell in the trap of sin God took measures for human salvation from it. We can trace God’s promises, plans and preparations which are written about in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.  To begin with, we learn from the Bible that Genesis 3:15 tell us that God cursed the serpent, who was the devil or Satan in disguise, who came to entice the first woman, Eve to disobey God’s commandment ‘not to eat the forbidden fruit’. Here is what God told the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between offspring and hers; and he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” This is what is known as the “Proto-evangelism” or the first preaching of the Good news of salvation from sin that God would wrought in Jesus Christ in the appointed time. The term ‘Offspring’ here refers to Christ who would destroy Satan, though Satan would strike his heels. At the appointed time Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and her son, i.e. Christ through his death and resurrection conquered the evil designs and powers of Satan and after the Judgment Satan will be condemned eternally.

God called Abraham and he promised to him many promises which we find the different chapters in the book of Genesis beginning from Genesis 12. Abraham obeyed God for his word. He became a great source of blessings for humanity. He is the Father of the faithful ones; even he is called in the Bible ‘friend of God’, Khalilullah. He is greatly revered as such by the followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam! History continued centuries after centuries. God’s promise of his blessings culminated in the person of Christ eventually.

 

The writer is a Christian theology teacher and church leader