Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Each season of the church year can be summed up in usually one word. For Advent, that one word is “Come.” It’s literally the name of the season. Advent means “to come”. Listen throughout this season and you’ll be sure to hear that word repeated time and again. Advent is all about the coming of Christ, his first “Advent”.
Advent is also a time of preparation because of this coming. Like guests on their way to visit, you must prepare your home to welcome them rightly. Many will tidy up before guests come so as to make a positive first impression. Advent is our time to “tidy up” ourselves in preparation for the coming Messiah. We seek to put our sins away, return to the “clean” ways of God so we can greet His Messiah rightly.
Advent always begins with the reading of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. It’s a reminder that Jesus comes as a king. Even as we read, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9. Israel had long awaited the coming of their savior, the messiah. They wanted him to come so that they could finally be free. Only when God had come to be with Israel were they truly free. God came to dwell with his people in the Exodus so they might be set free from slavery in Egypt. God came regularly through the judges to grant freedom from other nations. God came in his servant David to grant peace and freedom.
Consider the cries of the people when Jesus rode into Jerusalem: “Hosanna…” meaning “save us”. Advent reminds us that we too need saving. We too need Jesus, the Messiah to come and rescue us from the enemies who afflict us. It’s not from other nations, or governments though. It’s from our own sin. We are afflicted and oppressed by Satan and sin that we desire our Lord to come and set us free.
Such is the prayer of Advent, “Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come!” It’s not within our power to clean ourselves up. We need Jesus to come and do it for us. We need his rescue and deliverance. We need a savior. “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down…” Isaiah 64:1. Even as we await Jesus’ coming… on Christmas… on the last day… or in his Word and sacraments, we hear his promise… “Surely I am coming soon,” (Revelation 22:20). Indeed, Jesus is coming to be with us. He comes as a lowly babe on Christmas, meek and mild. Yet, it’s his coming that guarantees our deliverance. For here is the King who will set us free. Here is God who has rent the heavens wide so that he may shower us with his forgiveness, mercy, and grace to be poured out on the cross. God has rent the heavens wide and broken through the barrier of our sin that he may bring to us joy and peace!
Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!