The theme of this First Sunday in Advent is based upon the Latin word adventus, "coming, arrival, approach." The collect, epistle and gospel selection all reflect this theme in different ways, and throughout this season of spiritual preparation for Christmas, we focus on the various ways Christ comes to us. We think of the prophets who prepared the Hebrew people for His first coming. We also look to His second and final coming to complete earthly history and render judgment. And we think of His various comings into our lives.
Today's Epistle from Romans 13 ties together some of this ways that Christ comes to us. In Romans 13:11-12, the Apostle Paul writes, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
Earthly history and human life move on. So the time of salvation for the faithful keeps drawing closer. Anticipation of Christ's final coming means that we must wake up in a spiritual sense. We must cast off our old fallen dark ways and put on the gracious goodness already offered by Christ, the armor of light. Or as Romans 13:14 says, "...put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ...."
Putting on Christ is another way of speaking of allowing Christ to come in, permeate and cover our moral and spiritual lives. The only way for us to prepare for Christ's final coming is to have Him already have come into our hearts, minds and souls many times to transform us into His likeness. Advent is a time on the church calendar when we try to be more aware of our need to have Christ come into our lives in a more profound manner, a time to rouse ourselves from spiritual lethargy and allow Christ to clothe us with His presence in new and deeper ways.
For last year's comment on Advent I, see http://bcpanglican.blogspot.com/2010/11/first-sunday-in-advent.html