This week's Lectionary readings are:
Advent is styled as a time of waiting, but not waiting for the birth of Jesus, rather waiting for the return of Jesus. Personally, I find most focus on the idea of the Second Coming to be problematic. To me, the really amazing thing about Jesus is how he lived his life, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, etc; not the fact that at some unknown time in the future ("no one knows the day or the hour" - Matthew 24:36) he will return. Now, admittedly, if we are following his example, we would be ready for that return, but that isn't usually the focus.
This week's reading from Luke, is a perfect example of what I find problematic - a focus on the signs. And I particularly dislike the people who think they can control the Second Coming by making the things mentioned as signs happen - that way leads to nothing but behavior Jesus would disapprove of - war, killing, etc.
Photo Credit: Piper, John, 1903-1992; Reyntiens, Patrick. Tree of Life, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved December 9, 2012].