“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
We celebrate Advent beginning this Sunday, 2,017 years from close to the birth of the Savior. The Word “advent, you know, means “coming, referring to the first coming of Messiah and today His “coming again, as the Bible promises. The promise of His first coming was fulfilled precisely as the Scriptures said. Why then would His promised second coming not happen? Simeon and Anna, both mature in the faith and in old age, representing all the patient waiters in the centuries before them, yearned for Jesus’ birth for most of their lives. Observing Advent today through the example of saints in years past is an excellent way to encourage you to look for His coming. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
This “fullness of time covers millenniums of human history, from the creation of the world and from Adam and Eve to the birth of Jesus. Advent, the beginning season of the Church Year, depicts centuries of patient waiting for the fulfillment of a promise, Genesis 3:15; that is, the seed of the serpent is purposefully in great battle with the seed of the woman until the great serpent, the devil, is crushed by the promised seed of Eve, Jesus Christ, on a crucifixion-cross on Mount Calvary, just outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem.
This verse is the first promise of the Gospel found in the Scriptures, called the “protoevangelion, the first evangel. It is a sure promise which initiated Advent. From man’s perspective, it proved to be a nearly interminable time encompassing many, many years of battle and darkness in which faithful believers yearned anxiously for the coming of the light – the light of a star accompanying the appearance of Jesus, who would Himself be the “light of the world, even lending that light to the amazing star.
The truths of Advent can be gleaned from the myriad events, prophets, and signs which down through the years of the Old Testament era purposefully pointed to the remarkable events at Bethlehem when God sent His Son into the world. There are numerous texts for your meditation on Jesus’ promised coming and numerous more on the promise of His return. All encourage us in our response to Philippians 3:20: “…from which you eagerly await the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. What does it mean to “eagerly wait?
Don’t you think eagerly waiting means reminding yourself what the Word of God says concerning both His coming and coming again, as well as what kind of behavior He desires in you as you wait? This is the focus of Advent, even more so than the fun accessories of Christmas festivities. Enjoy your traditions, but think on His coming! Make it your aim to acquaint your heart and mind with both comings of your Lord. And pray for His Advent.
There are four weeks of the Advent season to tune your heart to meditate on His birth and His return. Too much attention to family Christmas activities and not enough fellowship with just you and your Savior about His coming does not equal time well spent. Make some of those family gatherings centered on speaking to one another about Jesus’ birth and His return. Turn the conversation to that which is vital about what truly lies ahead in your and your family’s lives. Jesus is coming! You can be sure about that!
“Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art, dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
(1st verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, 1744)
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