This Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, begins a new Church Year. It’s interesting to note that the new Church Year begins at the End of Time, when Jesus will return. Even from the beginning, we know the end. This gives us comfort and hope as we move forward in life.
The First Reading, recorded in Isaiah 64:1-9, is a plea from Isaiah to God to come and restore His people. The people of God have abandoned Him, and He has exacted punishment, but now Isaiah pleads with God to rescue and restore His people. When we wander away from the Lord, let us remember Isaiah’s plea, and let us turn to the Lord in repentance, trusting that in Jesus we are forgiven and restored.
Holy Spirit, lead us to repentance and new life in Christ each day, trusting in Your faithfulness to renew and restore us. Amen.
The psalm, 80:1-7, continues the theme of a plea to God to restore His people. Notice the theme of hope: the people have turned from the Lord, but the prayer is that He will restore. We have this same hope in Jesus: when we fall into sin, we can return to Him, asking for forgiveness, and receiving His free grace in Jesus.
Lord, all thanks and praise to You that You are gracious and merciful, restoring us to You in Jesus. Lead us to daily repentance and new life in Jesus. Amen.
The Second Reading is recorded in 1 Corinthians 1:3-9. Notice the theme of thanksgiving in this passage – the apostle Paul gives thanks to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on the Corinthians. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes of faith to see God’s blessings, and let us also give thanks for all He has given to us, especially His Son Jesus.
Gracious Lord, You are so benevolent in the blessings You shower upon us. Open our eyes of faith to see all You give, and move us to give thanks at all times. Amen.
The Gospel is recorded in Mark 13:24-37. This passage opens with frightening descriptions of the cosmic turmoil that will come at the end of time, but notice that Jesus will return and gather His elect, all who believe in Him, to be with Himself forever. We may face tumultuous times in the future, but trust in Jesus’ return to gather us to Himself. What does He call us to do before He returns? Be awake, be ready, trust in Him.
Lord Jesus, we don’t know what the immediate future might bring, but we know that ultimately You will return and gather us to Yourself. Send Your Holy Spirit to keep us ready and awake for Your return. Amen.