Merry Christmas!

’Tis the season once again! We have entered into the season of Advent. I know that comes with a certain amount of dread and cynicism because the shopping season has been here since October and it really begins to overwhelm us with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, parties, presents, concerts, cantatas, and all the bells and whistles that accompany the season. If you add in the political campaigns and season ending fundraisers from secular and religious entities alike, it’s not surprising that we always worry about losing the “reason for the season.”

But if we back off all of that for just a moment, let’s just remind ourselves what the “meaning” of the season truly is. Advent means “a coming into place, view, or being; arrival.” Some synonyms are “onset, beginning, commencement, start.” The season of Advent was originally a celebration of the “the coming into” of Jesus the Christ.

Jesus first “came into” Being. Now that can be misleading, because Jesus has always existed, He has always “been.” The Bible describes Jesus as “the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) God is one, but he is also three…Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit. Jesus has always existed as God, but He “came into” being by being born as a baby. Jesus the Living “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) Jesus became like us so that He could save us. He would experience everything we experience, and yet would be without sin…so unlike us. In doing this, He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins — making atonement for our sins (paying our sin debt) — so that we can be fully restored to right relationship with God, our Heavenly Father.

Jesus also “came into” Place. He came into this place, our broken world full of hurt, pain, disease, lies…the list goes on. He left the perfection of Heaven to come to this place, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) But He didn’t go from the throne room of Heaven to a throne room on earth, no he was born in a manger (an animal food trough). Born in a stable, surrounded by animals, welcomed and announced by shepherds, he became a fugitive, hunted by a King desperate to keep a throne that Jesus was not there to assume. Jesus came into our world, and He took our place. He took the punishment we deserved for our sins upon Himself. All our evil, lies, lust, selfishness, pride…He became sin and took our place on the Cross.

At last, He “came into” View. On public display and for all the world to see, He was raised up on a Cross…executed publicly. Shamefully, scorned, despised and rejected by mankind — the very creatures He sought to save and redeem — they put Him to death…we put Him to death. Because when perfection comes into view it only points out all our imperfections. But this very act was deliberately devised by the Father to bring everlasting life, hope and salvation to all mankind. God put Salvation on display as Jesus “came into” view…”And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

This Advent season, let us be reminded that Jesus arrived and started a revolution that would allow all mankind to be saved, restored and returned to our Heavenly Father. Now that’s something to celebrate!! If you haven’t already heard it, I’d like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!

In Christ’s Love,

Posted in From the Pastor's Desk.