The Center for Excellence in Preaching has a nice “Introduction to Advent” page which asks and answers 2 common questions about the Advent Scripture readings.
Traditionally the Church has begun the Advent Season with a look at one of Jesus’ apocalyptic sayings, which in the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke come very near the end of his ministry and just prior to his arrest and crucifixion. Advent begins by looking to the end of all things as well as to the ongoing travails of history that ultimately bring us to the end.
- Why? Because if Jesus is not coming again, then there is very little to celebrate in his having arrived here on earth in the first place. If a future judgment on sin is not possible, then the birth of Jesus is reduced to quaint sentimentality and is restricted to being an event long ago and far away. The first advent of the Christ is drained of meaning if the second advent is bracketed or denied.
Keep reading to find out why John the Baptist was a necessary forerunner to Jesus…