Branch-Stump-of-Jesse-Linoleum-block-print-by-Elizabeth-Steele-Halstead.22

This Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season we observe before the celebration of Christmas. It is observed the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Advent is a season marked by longing and anticipation. Advent is not Christmas, but it’s preparing us for Christmas. 

For thousands of years, people who believed God’s Word and promises looked for him to fulfill the promises he had made. The promise to send one who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15), the one who would be the blessing to the whole world (Gen. 12:3), the one who would be a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15), a priest like Melchizedek (Heb. 7:11-28) and the King to sit on the throne of David forever (Isa. 9:7) ruling over a new creation, a new Eden (Isa. 65:17ff). 

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But while the faithful waited, the world suffered under the weight of the curse, just as it does now (Rom. 8:19-23). The prophets and faithful in Israel experienced judgment for their sin, culminating in their expulsion from the land. And yet, even amidst all that groaning, the promises did not go away, and the faithful continued to believe God’s Word.

And then, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…” (Gal. 4:4). The birth of Jesus was the beginning of the fulfillment of all the promises God had made. Righteous and devout Simeon, who was looking for the consolation of Israel, when he saw the Christ child,

“blessed God and said,
‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.’”
(Luke 2:28-32)

With the coming of Jesus, we have what prophets of old searched and enquired carefully about (1 Pet. 1:10-12). And yet, we still live in a creation that is longing for the revealing of the Sons of God, a creation that is subjected to futility. So in this way, we are like the faithful of old who longed for the appearing of the Messiah. We now long for him to come again. We are, “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Pet. 3:12-13)

During this Advent season, in our weekly worship, we will hear the promises of a Messiah as calls to worship the one who has come. We will lament the brokenness we experience in our lives because of sin and suffering. We will celebrate that the Promised One has come, and anticipate the day when his kingdom comes to earth, his will is done here, as it is in heaven.

  1. “Branch, Stump of Jesse” a Linoleum block print by Elizabeth Steele Halstead. ↩︎
Book of the Month: Conscience: What it is, how to train it, and loving those who differ. Book of the Month: The End of Anxiety