“As we look forward to the arrival of the Christ (both the anticipation of the first coming that we relive each year and the future coming for which we still long), we are called to remember that the End begins with his appearance, and that this Messiah is the one upon whom the ages turn.
The celebration of Advent must remind us that there is no place for complacency. When we assess our lives as not being in any need of transformation and cleansing, we imperil our standing before the Coming One. When we act as though his coming is simply to vindicate us all as those who have always been good enough, we miss the gravity of his visitation.
Advent reminds us that the celebration of the Messiah’s arrival is for those who have prepared for his coming. As Malachai puts it, the Lord is like a refining fire, like a launderer’s soap–who can stand when he appears?
And so… he must purify.
The grace of Advent comes in our remembering that before the Lord comes to judge he comes to offer a saving purification. And that call to be “changed in hearts and lives” comes to us afresh, before the Messiah arrives.”
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