There shall be signs . . . men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved. And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. (Luke 21:25a, 26–27)

Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year. The focus is upon the coming of Christ, particularly the entrance of the Firstborn into the world. The verse above highlights another Advent, Christ’s second coming.

In the NFL teams that I follow, one particular player made his return today to the football world. It was San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. Today was his advent with a pass reception of 60 yards. The whole crowd celebrated at his debut achievement while the Saint Louis Rams’ defense shuttered in fear. Now that the 49ers have their last season’s receivers back in the game the rest of the NFL world will be watching.

The first Advent of Christ was a joyous time. Angels sung and wise men of the East came to worship. Christ’s second Advent will not be so joyous for those who are against the Lamb because it will be a fearful time for them. For those who are on the Lamb’s side, however, the second Advent of Christ will be welcomed greatly because the Kingdom of God will emerge in its fullness.

The church universal is the debut of what God’s Kingdom will be like when Christ comes again. My hope is that as the church remembers and renews the welcoming of Christ into this world it will bring the gift of Christ to all it encounters.