Reading these scriptures together: Christians are called to patience, constancy, and stillness, to contemplative, expectant waiting on the coming of Jesus. To be a Christian is to find oneself called always to be in Advent.
Mormon scripture tells of this ongoing expectation of the Messiah's coming: in the premortal existence the Son of God comes to the Father's plan for humanity with the words "Here am I, send me" (Abraham 3:27); with other Christians we celebrate his coming in the meridian of time (Moses 6:57; 62); and with many we wait for his final, apocalyptic coming (D&C 38:8; 39:20-21).
As Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth comes each time in victory, ultimately victory over death and sin (Judges 5:1-5; Isaiah 19:1; Mormon 7:5). He comes as king, rightful ruler of the world and its inhabitants (Deuteronomy 33:2-5; Alma 5:50). But more than anything else, he comes always as the Messiah of peace (shalom) (Zechariah 9:9-10; Helaman 5:47; 2 Nephi 26:9; 3 Nephi 22:7-13;). More than the absence of war, shalom means wholeness and harmony. Christians wait patiently, expectantly, and firmly for the victory of the king who brings wholeness and harmony to individual lives and to the world.
The harmonious wholeness for which we wait is not to be understood as something confined to discrete events, two in the past and one yet to come. It is also central to the life of anyone who hears the message of the gospel: "the Lord is nigh" (Doctrine & Covenants 1:12, 35-36). To preach that the Lord is nigh is not only to warn people that the end of the world is soon to come—soon, on some time scale to which we are not privy. More than that, to preach the gospel is to preach that the revelation of shalom is near in both space and time, whatever the timing of the Second Coming. The preaching of the gospel directs us to look for what is already near us, and if we look we will see and hear. The kingdom is not something distant. It is at hand—around us, with us, before us—though when we do not hear the gospel we are deaf to the presence of the kingdom.
James Faulconer is a Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University, where he has taught philosophy since 1975.