• Daniel Baker
Two years ago we ran a series of blog posts by different members of our church. We're going to re-post that series to help you consider once again the miracle of Christ coming to earth. We'll slightly modify some of the posts so they make sense two years later, but basically we'll keep them unchanged.
In case you hadn't noticed, the Christmas season is here. No one we know got too burned deep-frying their turket, and we survived Black Friday (which wasn't as black as in years past). We all have about twenty-seven parties scheduled in the next thirty days, and in stores and homes in that same period we'll hear about a thousand different versions of Carol of the Bells.
I don't write this as a Scrooge. I love Christmas. But what I love above all the family traditions and celebrations is the Event at the center of it all: The Advent of the Messiah.
"Advent" isn't a word we use often, but it means "arrival." Christmas is about the arrival of God's Messiah, Jesus Christ. It's often referred to as the "first advent," because the truth is, he's coming again! There will be a "second advent" where he bursts through the clouds for all to see. At the first advent, he came as a baby in a non-spectacular family from a non-spectacular city. At the second advent, we will be speechless and terrified because of how spectacular it will be. It will be like a trillion thunderstorms converging right over our heads. The Lord Jesus Christ will burst through the clouds while leading his army atop a white horse (Rev. 19:11ff.).
Paul described the first advent as occurring in "the fullness of time":
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Gal. 4:4-5
The centuries of anticipation and longing were fulfilled in this "fullness of time" when God did the unimaginable: He "sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law." And he did this "to redeem" us, to buy us out of the futility, judgment, despair, hopelessness, depression, death, curse, and decay of our lives so we could receive eternal life and every spiritual blessing (John 3:16; Eph. 1:3).
In other words, there is plenty of reason to sing songs and reflect once again on what it means that God came to us in that baby in Bethlehem.
To help us do that we will do two things I am extremely excited about. First, we will provide you with a series of readings for the Advent season (December 1st-25th). Read these by yourself or as a family. Most of them are fairly brief. One way to use them is to read them and simply ask, "What does this teach us about Christ coming as a baby?" Some of them look at the reason why he had to come (sin). Others look at the result of his coming (new heavens and new earth). Many look at the accounts of his birth in the gospels. We will post these readings tomorrow.
Second, we are doing something I believe will be a great blessing to our church. A number of people in our church will be writing reflections for each of these readings. We will post these to the blog first thing in the morning each day of Advent. If you haven't subscribed by email to the blog, do that, but know that those emails sometimes come at odd times—typically they come at the end of the day it seems. But know that we'll try and have the day's advent reading on the blog by the morning of that day.
All of this is to help us grow in our faith, be inspired in our worship, and be grounded in the amazing truth that God did not leave us in our sins: He came to earth in that baby in Bethlehem and saved us!
"Hark! The herald angels sing! Glory to the newborn King!"