Welcome to Advent, the first season of the church year, also known as the liturgical year.
I have some thoughts of others to share with you, and the first sharing is the Advent message for 2017 from bishop, which you can access here.
Advent is from a Latin word meaning "coming", and it is a season of both remembrance and expectation. The remembrance is of the first coming of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem and of the revelation that unfolded from that humble beginning, a revelation we've been exploring in scripture and liturgy and prayer for the entire church year since the last Advent season: the seasons of which are, in this order: Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and the Season after Pentecost. In these seasons we've been beholding the life of Jesus the Christ from his Baptism and Temptation through the ministry of teaching, healing, and proclaiming the kingdom of God, and then the events of the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and the resurrection and ascension.
In Advent we look forward to receiving Jesus again as an infant, but we also look forward to the final judgment of the world by God; a judgment which will finally make all things right; a judgment we are able to greet "without shame or fear," as the Prayerbook has it.
I want to leave you with these words from Austin Farrer from 1952. Farrer was a noted Anglican spiritual writer of the 20th Century. In this passage he describes the journey of our lives in the light of our relationship to Jesus the Christ.
Our journey sets out from God in our creation, and returns to God at the final judgment. As the bird rises from the earth to fly, and must some time return to the earth from which it rose; so God sends us forth to fly, and we must fall back into the hands of God at last. But God does not wait for the failure of our power and the expiry of our days to drop us back into his lap. He goes himself to meet us and everywhere confronts us. Where is the countenance which we must finally look in the eyes, and not be able to turn away our head? It smiles up at Mary from the cradle, it calls Peter from the nets, it looks on him with grief when he has denied his master. Our judge meets us every step of our way, with forgiveness on his lips and succour in his hands. He offers us these things while there is yet time. Every day opportunity shortens, our scope for learning our Redeemer's love is narrowed by twenty-four hours, and we come nearer to the end of our journey, when we shall fall into the hands of the living God, and touch the hearts of the devouring fire.
-from The Crown of the Year. (Dacre Press, 1952). Quoted in A Feast of Anglican Spirituality. (Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1988), 148.
A Blessed Advent to all of you.
Advent Wreath By SolLuna - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17276397