Today I walked into our sanctuary for the first time since Thanksgiving and immediately I was reminded that Christmas is quickly approaching. The sanctuary has been decorated to reflect the celebration of Christmas. If anyone should take seriously the celebration of Christmas it should be the church, right?
You may have heard of people talking about “Advent” or perhaps you’ve heard references to an “Advent wreath.” Why is the season of advent important? Advent is simply the season that leads up to Christmas. Typically, it is the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The church calendar normally recognizes the four Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas on the calendar each year and therefore, the dates are always changing from year to year.
This year (2014) the advent calendar is:
Today, I will begin a series for advent. Each Sunday leading up to Christmas, I will write an article to celebrate the birth of Jesus!
The first advent was the birth of Christ and the second advent is the return of Christ. At Christmas, we celebrate the first advent known as the incarnation of Jesus. This is a big deal because it’s a reference to when the Son of God was born. Literally speaking, God took upon Himself human flesh and dwelt among men. This event in human history not only shapes our calendar dating, but it likewise fulfills hundreds of years of prophetic history that was pointing toward the birth of the Messiah.
As we think about the season of advent, we should remember the promise of Jesus’ birth. How could the birth of Jesus be predicted 700+ years before He was born in Bethlehem with precision (Isaiah 9:6)? How could a prophet make the claim that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son 700+ years before she would indeed become pregnant as a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)? The answer is quite complex and simple at the same time. It’s a complex web of promises and prophetic statements that stretch back through Israel’s history. The simply answer is that it was a promise made by God to His people and God fulfilled His Word.
We are people of the promise. We serve the God who not only makes promises but keeps them. As we celebrate the season of advent, we look forward to one day when God will bring all of the timeline of history to a fulfillment upon the return of His Son Jesus at the second advent.
Charles Wesley wrote these words in 1744:
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.
For the glory of King Jesus,
Pastor Josh Buice
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