I read this week that this season of Advent became connected with the birth of Jesus from the Middle Ages. Centuries before then, Roman Christians used the time to focus on preparing for Jesus’ coming, not as a baby in a stable, but in glory on the clouds.
This is one of those occasions when I appreciate the traditional seasons and themes of the church’s year. We are reminded through the suggested Bible readings and liturgy of what our culture of comfort would lay aside. Those of all faiths and none are drawn to the tradition of gifts exchanged at Christmas – which of course is a reminder of the gifts brought to Jesus by the Wise Men and of the greatest gift given in the person of Jesus. The other aspect of Advent – the second coming of Jesus as Judge of all – is both glorious and distinctly uncomfortable. Revelation 19:12 speaks of Jesus the just Judge and his eyes like blazing fire. Are we ready for his return? This may bring up lots of questions – ones that might be asked in our next Alpha course…
But I’d like to remind you of what Ben Evans spoke about last Sunday morning – “Expectations” from Isaiah 9. Ben said many expectations down the ages have been unfulfilled, often because of human weakness – including the hope for freedom and peace in Isaiah’s day. So God stepped in himself and entered the fray in the person of a child called, “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God!” Jesus wonderfully fulfilled their hope – and ours – for freedom from what binds, and peace with God. Hear Ben’s talk on our website…
The “endless” peace and justice Isaiah speaks of, will come at Jesus’ second advent. Jesus is “faithful and true” and God is fully determined to bring this about – this expectation will be fulfilled.
Yet how much does this amazing event enter into our thinking now? For me personally, far too little. It was central to the faith of the early church – who were then able to live very boldly and sacrificially as they looked to the comfort of Jesus return in glory. Too often I find myself looking for comfort in this life… So let’s use this season to help us be changed in our thinking – to anticipate Jesus’ second coming. So, God bless you in this Advent season: “Happy Christmas” and “Come Lord Jesus!”
- Dave Scott
Posted on Thursday, 6th December 2018