Christmas Advent
Comments 2

{Advent} The Great Expectation

Advent: {n} an arrival or coming, especially one who is awaited; From the Latin, adventus

{hand-decorated greeting created by my late uncle}

{hand-decorated greeting created by my late uncle}

“Advent” comes from the word for coming or arrival in Latin. Our advent celebrations came from the old church’s practice of spending six weeks every year focusing on the life and miracles of Christ. For many centuries, Advent focused on looking forward to and awaiting the second coming of Christ. In the sixth century, Pope St. Nicholas shortened the advent season to four weeks. Somewhere in the Middle Ages, the religious observation of advent began to focus primarily on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ.

Can Advent capture our spirits and spur believers on toward the

expectation of Christ’s return?

What if we spent a month every year releasing our hold on this world and letting it release its hold on our hearts? What if we spent thirty days looking forward to the return of Christ for his Church, for the beginning of the end of sin and death and disease and destruction, for the beginning of forever to come? Would our priorities change? Would our time be spent differently?

What if we just spent a few minutes, right now, shifting our bodies toward the future, our faces toward heaven and held our breath in expectation for the “twinkling of an eye” return of our Savior?

I hope these three steps to expecting your Savior this Season help you look for Jesus and his coming again.

 1. Advent is about looking forward and we can do it today by looking back.

Our Savior, Jesus, came as the innocent exclamation point to a stream of Old Testament prophecies that predicted his coming, his victory over sin, his birth, death and resurrection and his eventual, eternal kingdom.  He was born, like you and I, and God had prepared his good works for him ahead of time, again, just like he has for you and I.

 2. Advent is both the Coming and the Coming Again of our Redeemer.

We can count on his future because we can see the proof and truth as we connect the dots of prophecy and consider the magnificently detailed plan of God to redeem his creation. God’s word tells us that he has placed eternity in our hearts; that all creation groans for the perfection we will one day have because of Christ. When we allow all that eternity to settle for a few minutes upon our hearts and saturate our souls, we can’t help but turn our face toward the Son, and look up, with hopeful, expectant hearts.

Isaiah 11:1-2

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,

And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,

The spirit of wisdom and understanding,

The spirit of counsel and strength,

The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (NASB)

 

Jeremiah 23:5-6

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,

“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;

And He will reign as king and act wisely

And do justice and righteousness in the land.

 In His days Judah will be saved,

And Israel will dwell securely;

And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.'” (NASB)

 

Psalm 62:5-6

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved. (KJV)

 

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (KJV)

 

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the Lord

will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary. (NASB)

 

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful… (NASB) *The KJV says “hold fast the profession of our faith“.

3. We look forward in faith.

A gift is most meaningful when it is given sacrificially from a heart of love. Sometimes it can be hard to give away the thing that’s most valuable to us, but if that thing could give life to a dying loved one or guarantee the future of our children, we’d give it up in a New-York minute. As much as we cherish things, people usually supersede material wealth. But what about when God asks us to give more than stuff?

Read Genesis 22:1-13, James 2:21-24 in your quiet time or with your family and consider these questions.

–What Abraham did was a shadow of what God would (and did) eventually do to buy back his creation from the death of sin.

–Why was Abraham’s obedience credited to him as faith?

–Could you do what Abraham did? Has God tested your faith in ways that seem “too much”?

–Do you think Abraham knew God would provide (did he know the end of the story)?

–What gift did God give us in this story to place on our tree?

–Why is it important to have faith at Christmas?

Blessings,

Alyssa

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2 Comments

  1. Alyssa, Thank-you for sharing the history of the church advent practice. We should be looking forward to Jesus’ second coming as we remember his birth. I love the verses of expectation.

  2. Thank you for the reminder of spending this month focused on the Lord. I loved reading through and meditating on the scriptures listed in your post. Blessings!

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