Advent - Countdown to Christmas
November 27, 2018
So, the countdown to Christmas has begun. What’s on your mind? Dreaming of a white Christmas, or wishing to be near palm trees during the holidays? Watching the Hallmark Christmas movies or every classic that comes along? Getting the perfect gift for everyone on the list? Getting the Christmas lights up? Making the best Christmas playlist of all time? Baking dozens of Christmas cookies, drinking eggnog, and already planning your post-holiday diet?
All kinds of things consume our countdown to Christmas. They’re fun and good—nothing wrong with any of that. But the countdown to Christmas is actually far more. Christians call this period Advent. Advent means the arrival or coming. Generally it means the arrival or coming of an important person.
To Christians, the Advent season is the time to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into our world, coming as Savior, Redeemer, Transformer. Jesus didn’t come to launch an earthly revolution, but He was powerfully moved to initiate a Kingdom that would never end. He came to make a way for us to have a relationship with our Father, God.
We so often think Christmas is this completely beautiful, pristine time of glory. It didn’t start that way, especially for Jesus. Jesus IS the reason for Christmas. He is more than that. He is the hinge on which all history swings. Coming to be our Savior was a major demotion for Him. An old song says it like this: “Down from His glory, for redemption’s story, the only Savior came, and Jesus is His name.” He left all His privileges as God to do what only He could do.
Philippians 2 says it like this: Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
That’s the way His first Advent, His first coming, went.
But that’s not His only coming—He is coming again! This second Advent will be very different. He will not come as a helpless baby to be a sacrifice. This time He will be immediately recognized as the Almighty God by every single person who has ever lived.
Philippians 2 continues: Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
THAT’S what Advent is really all about.
The other things that are fun and good that are part of your Christmas countdown are fine and good. But the focus of the holiday is Advent, the coming of Jesus Christ into our world.