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 4: The Infant Equalizer
The baby lies quiet and still, breathing the deep, steady breaths of a healthy new born. Candlelight, dampness and cold are the ambiance of his first night on the earth, yet he sleeps in toasty comfort, swaddled in a feeding trough. His parents, like any and all parents, would have hoped for a better start. But for this little Lamb of God, it’s the perfect beginning to a perfect plan.
Jesus, the infant equalizer, was born for the sole purpose to die. His death would become the center piece of all time; his resurrection the apex of history. And as he slept that inaugural night, he exchanged the first clean breaths of hope for a world at odds with itself. He was surrounded by a human race in desperate need of a moral and spiritual make-over. This is Christmas.
He was born into a world of heartless extremes that often led to bitter contrasts. The lines that separated the categories within the human race had been drawn deep and thick through the centuries. This baby boy came to erase them all. His solo appearance in time and space would stabilize as it equalized.
This was long over due. Sin and pride had distilled the world into categories where one side was kept down and denied while the other side often operated with an inflated view of their contribution. The baby of Bethlehem came to give the one side the gift of hope and the other the gift of humility. He came to give both sides their only real chance.
Jesus was born to equalize the value between …
… the upper class and the poor
… the free and the slaves
… the elites and the unwashed
… the educated and the unsophisticated
… the privileged and the denied
… those of the pandered races and those of the marginalized ones
… the capable and the handicapped
… the people in their prime and those long past theirs
… the silver spooners and the plastic spooners
… the men and the women.
And so, this Christmas, we celebrate as one church, one heart, one body, one spirit, one fellowship the collective hope of eternity through this baby of Bethlehem. As we head towards the horizon of a new year it behooves us all to ask for His lens of grace to cover our eyes. May we look on one another as He looked on us: with favor, joy and love.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no great joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 2-4
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, and wonders of His love.