Malachi 3: 1-4, 23-24; Psalm 25: 4-5, 8-9, 10, 14; Luke 1: 57-66
At one time, Advent was a time of fasting and penitence for sins. However, a different emphasis for Advent has unfolded in the Church. Nowadays, Advent is celebrated more in terms of expectation or anticipation in the context of oppression and injustice. There is a longing for redemption from the systemic evil of the world sometimes expressed in evil countries/empires and tyrants.
In that sense, all creation groans for its redemption. But there will be time enough, during the rest of the church year, to remember our broken relationship with God. So, we celebrate with gladness the great promise in the Advent, knowing that there is also a somber tone as the theme of threat is added to the theme of promise. This is reflected in some of the scripture readings for Advent, in which there is a strong prophetic tone of accountability and judgment on sin. But this is also faithful to the role of the king, who comes to rule, save and judge the world. So, the prayer of Advent remains: O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL, AND RANSOM CAPTIVE ISRAEL.
Brigid Tembo, SLW