Hope. Peace. Joy. Love. Repentance? Do we need an extra candle on our Advent wreaths? If we were on Sesame Street, someone would be singing, “One of these things is not like the others.” In today’s reading, William Stringfellow makes a case that our Advent worship should be marked by an emphasis on repentance as we remember Christ’s first coming and look forward to his return.
- Romans 2:4
- Watch for the Light, 102-106
- Have you felt “the disappearance of Advent” (103) in our culture or church? What do we risk losing by rushing past Advent as shopping, parties, and other Christmas-related busy-ness crowds into this season?
- What is the subject of Advent? How would you explain the significance of the Advent season to someone who asked you what it is all about?
- Stringfellow suggests that repentance is “the message and the sentiment of Advent,” perhaps even more than joy (104). How would you describe the relationship between joy and repentance in the Advent season?
As you prepare to pray, read Romans 2:4 again, meditating on the truth that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Take some time to allow God to search your heart and reveal any sin that you have not confessed, then turn yourself back toward God again, trusting in the grace that is ours through faith in Christ. Finally, praise God for the certain hope we have that when Christ comes to us in the Second Advent, our time of repentance will be complete and our joy will be fulfilled.