If you are familiar with the diversity of artwork on the subject of the Nativity, you’ll have noticed that in some, the symbol of the cross or crucifix is present. This may seem an odd inclusion at first; we are probably more familiar with tender images of Madonna and Child; of soft animals and adoring shepherds gazing at the baby Jesus.
In the Gospel for Advent 2, we encounter once again the figure of John the Baptist prophesying about repentance in the face of the wrath to come; the winnowing fork and the unquenchable fire. In a time which most people are beginning to surround themselves with cozy things and holiday decorations, this confrontation with images of judgement and wrath may be jarring.
Yet, both of these contradictions can be helpful reminders of what Advent is about: we are preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ: God made flesh. This God was not born into a life of riches and comfort; this God chose a human life of suffering and poverty. The God whose judgement and wrath the prophecies warned about is the same God who clothed himself in human flesh so that we could be clothed in his righteousness.
How do we prepare to meet this God? What must we remove to make ourselves ready? These mysteries are what make Advent both challenging and beautiful.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Download the Sunday booklet here: Liturgy at Home Advent 2 December 4 2022