Def: (n) advent -coming or arrival.
Advent is a season of spiritual reflection that is recognized by Christians all around the world. Advent is traditionally celebrated in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. In the early Church, the Advent season was a time for fasting and penitence until the 3rd Sunday when the focus shifted to rejoicing in the coming King.
The modern evangelical Church focuses on a sense of hope and anticipation that Christ has come to break the darkness with His light. Along with the hope and anticipation of the Incarnation, there is always the understanding of what He came to earth to do. Not only did He come to show us our own depravity with His sinless life, and thus our need for redemption, but He came to ultimately serve as our sacrificial Lamb; to take on the sin of the world and pay the penalty for our fallen nature.
Please join Family Matters in four weeks of Advent readings. We hope that these readings can assist your family in celebrating the coming of our Messiah – God Incarnate!
Week 2: The Clock is Re-set
On the night Jesus was born, it was life as usual in every other part of the world. The coffee shops and cafés of London, Rome and Athens had no clue that the world clock was in the process of being re-set. But in a back alley stable in dinky little old Bethlehem of Judea, time was starting over.
There were a couple of people up close to this drama that had a hint something amazing was happening. But even Mary and Joseph couldn’t have imagined all that was embodied in that tiny baby sleeping in the manger. Did they realize his little eyes were already prepared to look on the least as well as the worst of the human race with compassion? As Mary nursed Jesus that first night, it’s unlikely she had any clue that his mouth would some day speak the greatest words of hope the world could ever or would ever hear. When baby Jesus wrapped his infant hand around Joseph’s calloused finger, he couldn’t possibly have envisioned the pain and suffering that hand would someday endure for the sins of the world.
Yet, there they were, two new parents, getting a front row seat to the opening scene of a divine epic—God’s grace-based plan to give the whole world a new lease on life.
And so, this Christmas 2011 Anno Domini, the Year of Our Lord, we celebrate the event that ultimately drove the calendar makers to admit the obvious: “Hope, meaning, purpose and grace have finally visited the human race in person. Everything up to this point was a shadow of what life was meant to be. The Light of the World has removed that shadow for good. History is getting a second chance. Let’s start the clock over.”
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation …
“… and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together …
“… and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:15-18
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman-(Lyrics date back to the 15th Century)
“Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.”