Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent mid-week reflection

The theme of Advent is remembering the first coming of Christ and preparing for his second. It is, to paraphrase St Augustine, the time when we strive even more to take all that Christ offered us through his Incarnation so that when he comes again we will not be found wanting, that we will not be numbered among the goats when we stand before him in judgement, that we will not find ourselves in the outer darkness that is the absence of God's presence instead of the light eternal for which he created us.

Perhaps for some that seems too daunting a prospect. Perhaps that is why Christ speaks of us as carrying heavy burdens. But if that is the case, we have no need to fear. Does not Christ promise that he will give rest to those carrying heavy burdens? And does he not also say that his yoke – which is to live out as fully as possible always helped by Divine grace the Christian life – is easy? Our Lord's words here should remind us of those spoken by the prophet Isaiah which we also heard read earlier: those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. The one who trusts in his own strength for the journey through life, the journey that will take us all to stand before Christ's judgement one day, will grow weary, he will faint, no matter that he is young and strong; without God's help there is no hope of salvation. 

But with his help there is every hope. He has sent his Son. And his Son has told us the sure way, the perfect way. It is the way where we throw off the burdens the world would seek to place upon us and let Christ give us rest from them; and replace them with his yoke which is easy and with his burden which is light. If we will learn from the one who is gentle and humble in heart, the Son of God himself, then we need have no fear that we will fail to make the Lord's way our way in life. We will have made his first coming the basis for how we live and and we will therefore have no need to fear the day when he will come again. Amen. 

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