As Advent progresses, the Church turns us more and more from preparing for Christ's Birth at Christmas to preparing for His Second Coming. In the Scripture Reading for the Third Monday of Advent, the Prophet Isaiah paints a picture of the world after the Second Coming: No more tears; no more idols; food and water in plenty; the world lit with a bright light, signifying the renewal of the earth. All the nations shall see the power of Christ and glorify the God of Israel.
But the Second Coming will not simply bring joy and plenty; it will bring destruction, too. The powers of men (signified in the Scripture Reading for the Third Tuesday of Advent by Assyria) will be destroyed. Our own fate will be decided by our actions: If we have prepared ourselves properly for Christ's Second Coming, then like the just man in the Scripture Reading for the Third Wednesday of Advent we will have nothing to fear; but if we continue to live in evil and deceit, we, too, will be destroyed.
These may seem hard words to hear when every store is playing "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas," but they remind us what this season—the Advent season, not the Christmas season that hasn't started yet—is all about. We cannot properly prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas unless we prepare also for His coming at the end of time. We cannot adore the Child in the manger in Bethlehem without bending our knee before the just Judge Who suffered and died for our sins.
The Child in His Mother's arms is the Man upon the Cross and the King Who will return at the end of time. That, and not mistletoe and eggnog, is the message of Advent. Will we hear it?
Daily Scripture Readings for Advent:
- Scripture Readings for the First Week of Advent
- Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Advent
- Scripture Readings for the Third Week of Advent
- Scripture Readings for the Final Week of Advent