As usual, the great Season of Advent begins, not by talking about Christmas, but about the Second Coming. We’ve had this theme already for the past two weeks, but there is a slight change of emphasis in the Scripture readings offered for this Sunday: here the tone is positive: it is the “promise” of what is to come that we contemplate. Even in the Gospel, though it talks of the dreadful signs that mark the end times, we hear of a promise – “liberation”. For this we should stand erect and hold our heads high. The central theme is that we welcome the coming of a person – Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, and this is what links this Sunday to the coming feast of his birth: we are now preparing to celebrate how he once came: may these preparations also help us to prepare for him when he comes again.