Advent is the coming or arrival of a notable person, thing or event.
This is what we celebrate from the end of Thanksgiving until Christmas morning on December 25th.
It was the First Advent of Jesus that has shaped and changed human existence for over 2000 years. We measure our time by the first advent. Our lives are built around the celebration of it. The story of the sinless child in a manger in tiny town called Bethlehem lives on today as the single-most influential story of all time. We sing about it, our children will dawn outfits and traditional shepherd garb to act out plays that mimic it, and our lawns will even reflect its significance with full on nativity scenes. Make no mistake; the First Advent has shaped you.
If you are a professing believer, the Second Advent is the hope upon which you stand. Jesus is the one who was, the one who is, and one who is to come! Therefore, we are shaped by the reality that one-day, Jesus will return to judge the quick and the dead.
During the Advent Season we celebrate the spiritual realities that are true for us because Jesus has come and died in our place for our sins. He has also been raised in accordance with prophecy and extended his hand of grace toward us. Therefore, all spiritual blessings belong to us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). We also celebrate because what is already true for us spiritually will one day soon be physically true for us forever when he Jesus comes again (1 Corinthians 15)
So how are we meant to interact with the Advent Season while we are in between two advents?
Looking back, Looking Forward, Looking Up
For thousands of years before Jesus’ birth, the people of God looked forward to the coming of a Savior that was promised in ancient times. They longed for the day that God would send the Messiah to right the wrongs of sin and Satan. During the Advent Season we look back because we get the unique blessing of living after the first coming. The story of redemption has been revealed to us! Great news of great joy has come in the form of a man named Jesus. The Creator of all things became flesh and died to redeem us. During advent we look back to celebrate the unfolding story we are a part of. How should we live in light of this King of Glory?
Yet, we do not only linger in the past. We also know that in Christ, we have precious promises for the future. The reign of our King is real and strong, but it is not yet physical. His dominion will one day be made physical when he returns to set right the world of chaos that sin and Satan have set ablaze. Therefore, we look forward to the day when all things are made right in the light of our Savior and King. We spend time this Advent Season longing for our Savior’s return.
Finally, we cannot linger too long on future things. Jesus tells us to give no worry for tomorrow. We turn our eyes upward to worship our Sovereign this Advent Season. We embrace the love and truth of the gospel message. As we celebrate his First Advent and along for his Second Advent, we ask ourselves how we can love like our King Jesus in a world that desperately needs real love?
Providence, may this advent season bring warm and strong affections for our Savior this December. My prayer is that we would embrace the truth of the gospel by longing for Jesus, living for Jesus, and ultimately loving like Jesus. In short, as this Advent Season rolls on, let us share the love of God that has been shown to us in the gospel. Love God. Love people.
See you Sunday!