As we enter into the Advent season, I thought I’d put together a few podcasts that reflect my thoughts and communicate the importance of the Advent tradition.
You don’t have to celebrate with candles or a wreath but Christmastime is the perfect season to reflect on Christ’s coming to the world and his eventual return.
What is Advent?
Here’s an excerpt from Christianity.com’s description of Advent:
Some people may know that the Advent season focuses on expectation and think that it serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. This is part of the story, but there’s more to Advent.
Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
The church now sings [this] song in commemoration of that first coming and in expectation of [Christ’s] second coming.
Today is the first day of Advent. It’s the season where we celebrate the coming of Christ. We remember His first coming and anticipate his second.
Hope springs eternal as we look to the return of our King. Until then, may you be at peace knowing what God foretold has come to pass and will be completed.
And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:12-13 ESV)
Israel looked to the writings of the prophets and hoped for a Messiah. Their hope was in Him who would come and ours is in Him who has come. So we light this candle to symbolize our hope in Christ and our expectation of His return.
Lord, you are the light of our world. O gracious God of promise, we prepare to worship together as we await the fulfillment of your wondrous plan. Help us to grow as we hear your Word and live in your love. May the light of your love always shine in our hearts. (Source)
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