is a wonderful time for us to remember our Baptisms. Baptism is where
Christ first comes to many of us. How Advent-y is that? In the
water, through His Word, the Word who became flesh and tabernacled among us
comes and tabernacles in us by faith. He comes to save us from sin, death,
and the devil and like the people who crowded the road to Jerusalem for His
coming, we also cry out "Hosanna" to our newborn King, Jesus.
Last Sunday we heard about Christ’s coming again on the Last Day.
Because we are Baptized, we need not fear His return. Instead, we can
stand up straight and tall, turn our faces toward the blue sky, and watch the
clouds for our Redemption coming with glory and might. Jesus is also
called the bright Morning star who brings us hope of
a New Day in Him. Dr. Luther instructs us, "…the old Adam in us
should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and
evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live
before God in righteousness and purity forever." (Small Catechism)
coming Sunday is Gaudete and that’s pink so it makes sense that it’s not
the Fourth Sunday in Advent, we hear about the Annunciation to Mary, and her
song in response.
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on
all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things
for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is for those who fear Him from
generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered
the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; He has brought down the mighty from
their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; He has filled the hungry with
good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. He has helped his servant
Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and
to his offspring forever." (St. Luke 1:46-55, ESV)
Some Lutherans object to the use of blue during Advent because it is a color
commonly associated with the Blessed Virgin. I’m not sure why that’s a bad
thing, especially in Advent. Mary is the theotokos, the
mother of God. She is an admirable icon of faithfulness for all
Christians. But faith, which Mary epitomizes so well, trusts the word of
God in the water of our Baptism. "For without the word of God the water is
simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is,
a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit."
I can’t think of a better way to remember our Baptisms during the season of
Advent than by the use of the color blue in the paraments, vestments, candles,
and banners of the sanctuary. When else can we so celebrate our Baptism
than with the color of the season? Of course, Advent is a penitential
season, like Lent. But it is also a season full of repentant hope – hope
in the coming Christ-child and hope for His coming again on the last day.
Hope that we are given when Christ "advents" to us in Baptism.