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 3: Twenty Questions for the Shepherds
I’ve always wished there was a postscript in Luke’s account of Christmas that gave us the rest of the story on the shepherds that stopped by to see Jesus. They slip into the story with a bright blast of light and the heralding of angels. Then we turn the page and they’re gone. If I ever run into them in eternity, I’d love to ask them a few questions.
- Were you dozing or awake when that first angel appeared?
- Did any of you get sick or pass out with fright when he overwhelmed you with his presence?
- Did the angels sing their proclamation to you or just shout it?
- If they sang it, can you hum me any of the melody?
- Was the light so bright that it left you blinded for a while after the angels left?
- Did the sheep scatter and have to be rounded up as a result of the excitement created by the angels’ visit?
- Was it easy to find the stable?
- Did it seem like Mary and Joseph were expecting you?
- Was Jesus asleep or awake when you stopped by?
- Did Mary let any of you hold him?
- When you finally got back to your campfire, were you eager to discuss what had just happened or were you each so overwhelmed by it that you just spent the rest of the night mulling it all over in your head and heart?
- What did you tell your wife and kids when you got home?
- Did the people believe you or simply think you were nuts?
- Decades later, did you realize that the rabbi everyone called “Jesus” was this same baby you were sent to visit by the angels?
- Did you ever cross paths with Jesus once He started His adult ministry?
- If you did, did He act like you had already met?
- What did you think when you later learned that this same baby you visited was executed on a cross outside of Jerusalem?
- Did it all come together for you when you heard that Jesus had risen from the dead?
- Did it ever occur to you that He came to make your job unnecessary?
- How did all of this change your life?
That last question is a good one for you and me too. How is the birth of God’s Son changing our lives? It’s an obvious question for this time of year, but it’s a great question to ask ourselves every day God gives us breath.
“Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” ‘And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.’ Luke 2:15b-17
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultations,
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!