Thursday, November 24, 2011

He Comes, Again!


Advent means coming.  Advent marks a New Year in the Church’s liturgical calendar.  It is a season for Christians to get ready “again” for God’s coming.

God’s coming, Advent, is a time for us to set the watch in preparations of making the pathway clear for God to find His way to our hearts, again.

You may have noticed that I am very conscious of Advent “again”.  Every year we prepare for the coming of the Christ child’s nativity.  Therefore, during Advent I do not pretend that I do not know the plot.

I know that Advent is a “little” Lent that calls us to repent.  It is a time to get ready for God’s coming to judge us.  Yet, I must confess that never in my life have I “felt” dread in my expectations of Christmas. Since I was surrounded by Christmas songs during most of my life, at school, in the markets, and department stores, and on the bus, and even in the elevators, I rearely heard “Advent” hymns.  Because I spent my childhood in US Army Chapels that were usually guided by non-liturgical chaplains, we sang Christmas songs all during Advent.  This suited me just fine!

Now that I serve as an Episcopal pastor, I am charged to lead our community in its observance of Advent as a season of repentance.  Yet, my child within cries for me to rush to Christmas and skip Advent.

Who really prefers to hear the prophet Malachi warn us?
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,…
But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appears?  For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: …And I will come near to you to judgment.”
As I noted earlier, I do know the “plot”. The judgment that comes is the Christ child.  God’s judgment is the gracious gift of his beloved son that shows us that we are his beloved children as well.  Now that should be cause to rush to Christmas and rejoice.

Yet, I know that it is well for me and for you, to reflect for a few weeks upon this truth that God is coming to judge.  Although His judgment is love, such awesome love illumines our self centered, insecure lives. His coming exposes our lack of passion to imitate the character of His Son’s compassion.  To discover this in our Advent reflections can become the means to receive the Christ Child again.

As I have grown to know the true meaning of “Advent”, I appreciate the discipline to watch out, to prepare my heart “again”, to be ready for His coming to judge you and me with loving compassion, as a Father who loves His sons and daughters.

Ready or not, here he comes.  Watch out!  God is coming again, Christmas!  Hallelujah!

                     Come, watch and wait for His coming!

Sun. 11th - 9:30am Advent Service of Lessons & Carols

(children assemble the nativity scene) Holy Eurcharist

12 NOON Advent Discussion & Lunch

Sun. 18th - 9:30am     English Worship with Holy Eucharist

12 NOON Advent Discussion & Lunch

Sat. 24th - 8pm Christmas Eve Bilingual Choral Eucharist

Sun. 25th - 9:30am Christmas Day Holy Eucharist

1045 AM Coffee Fellowship

The Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan
Church of the Good Shepherd
509 Zhong Zheng Road
Shilin, Taipei 111, Taiwan
Church Office: (02)2882-2462 Fax: (02)2882-0513
Father Herb B.'s email: