Advent, the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas, is a shot-silk season. There is the purple of penitence and preparation. There are the great themes of the Last Things ”” death and judgment, Hell and Heaven; the ultimate choices and sharp reminders of the frailty of our human life. There is hope and longing for a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the coming of God’s kingdom of justice, righteousness and peace. As one Advent hymn puts it: “When comes the promised time, when war shall be no more, Oppression, lust and crime, shall flee thy face before?” We remember that the ancient confession of Christian faith, the Nicene Creed, ends with the words “we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” The word translated “look for” is not a casual glancing up, but is much more urgent ”” “we wait with longer expectation for”, scanning the horizon of history for God’s new and eternal life, and the new and just ordering of human society.
–The Right Rev. Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, in a recent [London] Times piece