PEARUSA Bishop Steve Breedlove has a good reflection for Advent entitled Times of Refreshing.
It’s focused on the verse from Peter’s post-Pentecost sermon in Acts 3: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Bishop Breedlove admits that’s not a passage we usually associate with Advent, but makes a strong case for how it can be helpful in shaping our Advent devotion. Here’s an excerpt:
In Acts 3, the Apostles Peter and John had healed a beggar lame from birth. He was a familiar figure to the Jews going in and out of the Temple precincts, and when they saw him “walking and leaping and praising God,” a large crowd had gathered. Peter took the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, pointing to Jesus and reminding these Jews (without mincing words!) of their rejection of the man in whose Name this miracle had occurred. After nailing them with the truth, Peter opened the door of mercy, “You, and your rulers, acted out of ignorance.” And then an invitation to enter, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” This beautiful, evocative phrase comes in the context of a Gospel call to repentance and faith in Jesus. Not particularly applicable to Advent . . .? Maybe we should rethink that.
The core of the Gospel is the Gift of Jesus, the Christ, wrapped wondrously in layers upon layers of grace. This is whom we look to, whom we long for, on whom we wait in Advent. The complex, multifaceted Christology woven into Peter’s sermon expands our understanding. Consider his Names, “his (God’s) servant,” “the Holy and Righteous One,” The Author of life,” “the Christ,” and “the Prophet.” Wrestle through the references to his suffering, his resurrection, his glory, his power, and his blessing of God’s people, so that they might bring blessing to the world in his Name (the very Name which Peter has declared). Reflect on all that Peter declares about the Christ, and about his character and ministry, and about the grace which attends this Gift. This (and none other) is the One we long for.