by Julie Reynolds, Director of Curriculum
Advent means "arrival" or "coming." During this season we wait . . . for the celebration of Christ's first advent, and for his second coming in glory and our final redemption.
In Luke 21, Jesus describes the events that will precede his second coming and concludes with the following in verse 28: "Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
May your Advent waiting be encouraged by Dietrich Bonhoeffer's exposition of the passage cited above.
Such a true Advent happening now creates something different from the anxious, petty, depressed, feeble Christian spirit that we see again and again, and again and again wants to make Christianity contemptible. This becomes clear from the two powerful commands that introduce our text: "Look up and raise your heads" (Luke 21:28 RSV). Advent creates people, new people. We too are supposed to become new people in Advent. Look up, you whose gaze is fixed on this earth, who are spellbound by the little events and changes on the face of the earth. Look up to these words, you who have turned away from heaven disappointed. Look up, you whose eyes are heavy with tears and who are crying over the fact that the earth has gracelessly torn us away. Look up, you who, burdened with guilt, cannot lift your eyes. Look up, your redemption is drawing near. Something different from what you see daily will happen. Just be aware, be watchful, wait just another short moment. Wait and something quite new will break over you. God will come." 
 Jana Reiss, ed., God is in the Manger (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) p.40