HAPPY ADVENT!! It's like saying, "Happy New Year!" New Beginnings! We welcome Jesus to Bethlehem once again, but also look for His return from heaven to be Judge. Both His first and second comings we herald!
So, this is the season of preparation for Christmas, and just a month away as I write. Black Friday is soon behind us. There have been a few commercials that just frustrate me. One in particular speaks to camping out so that the shopper could save hundreds, while the neighbor says he got a full night's rest, and he saved thousands by buying a new vehicle (for himself!) Now, that's the spirit of Black Friday, isn't it? It's the season for giving, right? As God gave, so we show our love for Him as well as our neighbors.
Don't get me wrong, I like this season. I love to hear the carols, watch the TV specials, and see the lights. I study new recipes that I might just try, and I remember those Christmases past, wondering how to make this coming one a little different. Christmas is the celebration of God coming into the world in human flesh, making His home among us. We celebrate and confess the Scriptures’ truth that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. The miracle and mystery of God coming to earth in humanity is why we need Advent, too.
So, amid the joy of preparation, we need to take the time to slow down and reflect. Jesus’ journey was to earth, and His destination, specifically, was the cross, where He would take my sins and yours and the world’s, and accomplish the reason for His coming — to be Savior ["Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled"]. Joy to the world, if only they would realize the LORD has come!
The word “Advent” means “Coming.” Our Bible readings each Sunday in church will tell of various times Jesus entered to be among the people. He’ll ride into Jerusalem. He’ll step from the crowd into the Jordan to be baptized by John, His forerunner.
We’ll also hear about His second Advent, His second Coming, when He will judge the living and the dead. This teaching of the second Advent leaves us awestruck — and also lets us think of a simple truth: Jesus was promised and prophesied for thousands of years, then at the right time He came in person. So if He promised and it is prophesied that He will come a second time, He is able to do it — at the right time and in person. Advent, among its many themes, would have us look toward Jesus’ second coming, and always be ready.
The Wednesday evening theme will springboard from a favorite carol: "God rest you merry, Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray: O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy." We'll focus on these tidings of comfort and joy. I like comfort, don't you? I'd rather have a merry heart than a broken one too. Let's again together reflect on these Days with great anticipation that God is accomplishing a wondrous plan playing out before our eyes.
Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas! GLYSDI, PB
Tidings of Comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy in His Tender Announcement
Comfort and Joy in His Enduring Good Tidings
Comfort and Joy in His Power and Protection