Lectionary readings for the 1st Sunday of Advent are Isaiah 64:1-9 and Mark 13:24-37.
In the Gospel of Mark Jesus speaks of the end times, when the Son of Man will appear in the clouds with great power and might. As you read this passage consider the following:
- What does it mean that Jesus calls himself the Son of Man?
- What does this title mean to you?
- What are some other names for Jesus used throughout Scripture?
- What is in a name, anyway?
The Season of Advent provides us an opportunity to meditate upon the first coming of Jesus as a baby in a manger, as well as his second coming, a day for which we still eagerly await.
As believers, it's with great anticipation that we enter the Season of Advent. The church will be decorated during the “Hanging of the Greens” service this Sunday, and we will begin lighting the Advent candles. Perhaps we are beginning to think about decorating our homes as well—with greenery, poinsettias, and Christmas trees filled with lights and memories. As we wait expectantly and prepare for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus, I offer you a heartwarming Advent prayer I happened across some time ago.
O God, this Advent season is a time when your light radiates through the world. Inasmuch as we can, let us be bright for you.
Shine your light through us as though we were pieces of stained-glass window. Flow through us into others as the warm glow of colors seeps into a church.
Fill us with your light as though we were lighthouses on the shore. Use us to guide others and to keep them from danger.
Set us aflame with your light as though we were candles, even candles in a storm. Enable us to burn steadily with your fiery spirit and to push aside all forms of darkness.
Turn us on with your light as though we were Christmas bulbs all connected to one another. Help us as a community of faith to celebrate the sparkling good news of your Son’s coming birth.
Be present with us, God, throughout the Advent season as we live and worship in our wait for the One who is the world’s light. Amen.[i]