I love having family traditions, particularly at this time of year. One such tradition is to begin the Advent season by attending Seattle Pacific University’s concert, “The Sacred Sounds of Christmas.” Their selected music reflects sounds from around the world, as well as the familiar hymns that stir our hearts. I find this to be a wonderful opportunity to begin the Christmas season with a focus on the anticipation, realization, and celebration of the birth of our Savior who came to set us free.
Advent is a season observed in many western, Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus.
The word Advent means “coming or arrival” in Latin. The first Advent happened some 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us.
His incarnation took all that belongs to our humanity and delivered it back to us, redeemed. All of our inclinations and appetites, our capacities and our yearnings, are purified and gathered up and glorified by Christ. He did not come to thin out human life; He came to set it free. (Thomas Howard, from Evangelical Is Not Enough.) We have been given the ultimate gift, redemption.
There is a second, future Advent that will happen when Jesus comes back to the world as King of Kings to rule the world and establish His government from the city of Jerusalem. This is an event for which all creation awaits!
Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, and of longing, and we are increasingly aware that there is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world with its expressions of hatred and evil.
We anticipate a King who will rule with truth and righteousness over His people and in His creation. We long for the reign of the Anointed One, the Messiah, who will bring peace, justice and righteousness to the world. We know that God’s plan is to bring every world system to its knees, liberating its masses, as the consummation of the age draws near. God has purposed to bring a harvest from every nation and peoples on earth.
THE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH ARISING
As 2015 draws to a close, we are aware of the increase of darkness, but we are also aware of the increase of light. The Lord will rise over you, and His Glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 60)
We are also aware of the International Church being brought into alignment with God’s eternal purpose so that, the manifold wisdom of God might be made known BY THE CHURCH to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:10 NKJV
We are witnessing the hand of God moving amongst MBB’s (Muslim background believers) Jewish believers and Gentile believers. This is an historical occurrence, as it has not taken place in past generations.
God is uniting a people filled with light.
God is preparing a people filled with His glory.
God is making ready a people filled with boldness of faith and have tested it, and know their God; even as David had with the lion and the bear.
Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. I Samuel 17:36 NKJV
The issue was the fact that the enemy was coming against the armies of the living God!
2016 will be a year where we see faith, boldness, light and glory arise in wondrous ways in God’s people.
Yes, we enjoy the season of Advent that celebrates the first coming of Jesus.
But, our eyes and our spirits are more focused on the Second Advent, the return of Jesus as King.
HE MAKES THE NATIONS PROVE
I close with my favorite verse of the hymn, Joy to the World:
HE RULES THE WORLD WITH TRUTH AND GRACE,
AND MAKES THE NATIONS PROVE
THE GLORIES OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS,
AND WONDERS OF HIS LOVE,
AND WONDERS OF HIS LOVE,
AND WONDERS, WONDERS OF HIS LOVE.
Read more here:: The Second Advent