Advent is the season of arrival; the anticipation of the coming of God. We count down on the Advent Wreath each Sunday as we light another candle and move closer to Christmas, to the great arrival of God all those years ago in the little town of Bethlehem. We celebrate the fact that our God is not a God who stays far off, is only a dream or an empty promise. No, our God is a God who comes. He advents with His people. He arrives and His arrival changes things.

By Joel A. Hess

Every December, besides Christmas trees and carolers, we can expect a couple other accoutrements of the holiday season. First, someone will freak out over Starbucks cups and store greeters who exchange the word “Christmas” with “holiday.” Second, pastors will moan loudly and publicly about the fact that it isn’t officially Christmas yet. It’s advent!

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, December 10, 2017, is from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The text is Isaiah 40:1-11, which constitutes the beginning of an entirely new section of the prophet’s writings. This section encompasses chapters 40-55 of Isaiah, a section most known for the Suffering Servant prophecies. Most scholars today would agree with the unity of Isaiah, and they would agree that this section speaks to the Babylonian exile. However, conservative Lutherans would also say that these chapters are also eschatological and point to the salvation which will be purchased by the “Suffering Servant” at His first coming and completed at His second Advent. As R. Lessing writes, “Within the book of Isaiah, chapters 40-55 present prophetic instruction concerning the realization of Yahweh’s worldwide plan of salvation. He has heard the cry of His people, and these chapters intend to get them ready for the new exodus so they can come home to Zion.”

By Paul Koch

The word “advent” is a version of a Latin word that means coming or arrival. So, as we begin the season of Advent in the church we do those things that look forward to and anticipate the arrival, the coming, of something grand. We light an advent wreath each Sunday as each candle counts down to the big day. We have extra services when this body of Christ will gather together in anticipation of what is to come. And what is it that we are looking forward to? What is the big day that we are awaiting? Is it Christmas? It must be Christmas, right? Well, not exactly. I mean Christmas is certainly part of it for what we are celebrating is the coming of the kingdom of God. But that kingdom didn’t just come on Christmas morning. No, as we learn in our text today that kingdom comes whenever Christ himself comes. While Christmas may be the great arrival of our Lord, it is not the only arrival of our Lord.