A New Year Celebration That Goes Unnoticed

by Edmond Lo
First Sunday of Advent

Jeremiah 33:14-16

1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

The last lectionary year ended in the crowning of our Lord Jesus Christ as King of the Universe, which is very much in line with the ending of the history of salvation as recorded in the Bible: the Word of God emerging victorious over all forces of evil and was acclaimed as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16). This Sunday we begin a new lectionary year by celebrating the coming of the Lord in the Season of Advent.

Much like the way the world celebrates a new calendar year, the Church begins a new lectionary year with hope and expectancy: “The days are coming...I will raise up for David a just shoot…In those days Judah shall be safe…” (Jer 33:14-16).

She begins the New Year by making resolutions: “Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4). Make us “increase and abound in love for one another and for all…to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones” (1 Thes 3:12-13).

She begins the New Year in anticipation of Jesus’ second coming: “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Lk 21:27).

The Church’s celebration of the new lectionary year is similar in many ways to the New Year celebration at Times Square except the former goes mostly unnoticed by many, including – sadly – many of us who belong to the Church.

As we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, let’s follow the tradition of the early Church to pray the Marana tha – “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20); let’s pray for the coming of Christ in glory at the Parousia.