Greetings in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today is the Second Sunday in the Season of Advent.
The frenzied pace of the technological world in which we live with its incessant noise and constant stimulation by distractions can leave us wearied and empty despite all of the luxury and convenience, which this culture and way of life holds out as fulfillment of our heart’s desires. The world’s hollow promises can atrophy our souls and corrode our faith in greater and surer promises given by God in generations past. It is by faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God. We must renew our faith in the one in whom we have believed. We must fix our eyes once more upon Christ.
We must begin by stirring ourselves to wakefulness from this stupor of the imminence of everyday emptiness and daily distraction. We must remember and respond anew to our place in God’s grand story, to the things that have been and the things that will be. Therefore, in this Season of Advent, let us confess what we believe of the past Advent of our Lord and future Advent of our Lord:
I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
And let us act upon that faith and hold fast to that faith in the Lord of Advent:
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation . . . And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him . . . And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 10:35-39; 11:1-2, 6, 39-40 (ESV)
Let us not be wearied in our believing by the world but rather know anew “the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.” Advent is about looking beyond the here and now in full assurance of faith to the promises of God and drawing near with boldness before him as sons and coheirs of the inheritance of the Kingdom of his Belovéd Son.
Therefore, hear and heed this charge from the Lord to stir up one another’s faith:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV)
Receive now the benediction of our Lord who keeps us in the Faith:
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)