This Sunday we begin a new liturgical year in Western Christianity with the First Sunday of Advent.  It has become commonplace to mold the seasons of Advent and Christmas into one; but they are two different seasons.  The Season of Advent begins on the Fourth Sunday prior to December 25th and ends on Christmas Day, as a season of preparation for the Nativity (birth) of Christ.  The Christmas season begins on December 25th lasting until January 6th, “The Day of The Epiphany.”   

          The word Advent was adopted from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “the coming, arrival.”  In the New Testament, the Greek version of this word is the term used for the Second Coming of Christ.”  As such, the gospel text assigned for this First Sunday of Advent when the theme is “HOPE,” points to the second coming of Christ, and not the birth of the Christ Child.   

            The common interpretation of the assigned gospel text from Matthew 24 is that it is an ominous “spiritual” warning, much like intended light-hearted teasing in the Christmas song “Santa Claus is coming to town.”  The Christmas song says, You better watch out – You better not cry – You better not pout – I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town;” whereas, the assigned gospel text says, “Therefore, stay alert!  You don’t know what day the Lord is coming… you also should be prepared, because the Human One will come at a time you don’t know.” (Matthew 24:42 & 44) 

          However, in my reading of these passages assigned for Advent 1 – Hope Sunday, as pointing to the Second Coming of Christ, instead of the Nativity of the Christ Child, I see a message telling us to “KEEP HOPE ALIVE.”   

          So, join us for the First Sunday of Advent, Hope Sunday, in-person, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream.  I will be sharing a message on “KEEP HOPE ALIVE,” based on Matthew 24:36-44. 

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