This Sunday begins Advent. Advent simply means the coming or arrival of Christ to Earth. Advent also refers to the liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence. For us at Redeemer, it is chiefly a time of focus on the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the marvel of redemption that came as a result of God becoming man. The mood will be reflective, celebratory, and contemplative.
First, in our times of worship and fellowship together, we’ll reflect upon the amazing act of God the Son to “make Himself nothing” in order to be our Savior. Such reflection is both sobering and exciting. Can you believe God the Son did this for us? Do you realize what this means? We are saved from the just punishment our sin deserves, and we are saved to bring glory to God by our redeemed lives. We’ll reflect on the Incarnation this Advent.
Second, we’ll celebrate the Incarnation. Because God the Son agreed to take on flesh in order to make payment for our sins, we are redeemed! While there is a sense of shame in thinking of Jesus leaving His Father’s presence in heaven in order to stoop to earth, there is also a striking elation that makes us want to sing, worship, and fellowship with friends and family. Advent 2007 will be a celebration of redemption made possible by the willingness of God to give His Son and His Son’s obedience, making Himself nothing.
Third, there should be a sense of contemplation about what the Incarnation practically means for us today. Reflection is essential, but contemplation takes it one step further. Since Jesus has come in such an alarmingly humble way, how shall we then live? More personally- how should I live my life differently because Jesus came as a man to pay for my sins the way He did? Is there any length to which I should not humble myself for my brothers and sisters in light of what Jesus has done? I encourage you to make this Advent a time of seeking God’s transforming ministry in your life, and the life of our/your church.