In Christ I Meet The Advent God

GodReflection: The Ultimate IN Sider.

Christmas is on the calendar and the days seem shorter with early sunsets. It is the season of Advent. My childhood church knew nothing of Advent. It is only in the last several years that Advent finds its way onto my calendar. For some this is unbelievable. Don’t be shocked. In previous posts on GodReflection, I have shared that I can be accused of living under a rock in my own introvert world of thought.

I love my church family and my church tradition. It comes to me on the shoulders of past God-followers who esteemed Scripture and desired to obey. They didn’t always get it right—neither do I.  We all had one thing in common. We wanted to obey The Holy.

Throughout my childhood we didn’t know what to do with Christmas. The word Christmas was not in the Bible. There is no exact day known for the birth of Jesus, and nowhere does Scripture suggest we celebrate it as an annual holiday.

However, there were aspects of Christmas we accepted. We latched onto Santa Claus, gifts, lights, decorations, a tree, celebration, and great food. We even sang Christmas carols at school, in our homes, and in the street—but not in church. One December at our Wednesday evening prayer meeting, carols rang out (we must have been timidly testing the Advent waters). After a few melodious notes we could not miss the abrupt departure by a loyal church member in angry protest. Most of us didn’t understand the irate reaction.

The affirmation of Jesus Advent-coming to restore our broken lives and world, should never be out of place anytime the church meets be it on a July or December evening. I have come to believe the more I see Jesus as The Truth, the more I want to clear away the rules we create that get in the way of our Jesus-walk, the self-made rules that hid him from others like us who need his light.

Historical traces of Christian tradition discover the celebration of Advent go back as far as the fourth century in the great stream of Christ’s church. Ancestors in the faith whose desire was to aid sisters and brother in Christ remember God’s greatest gift to us.

On the calendar, it begins four Sundays prior to Christmas. At the heart of Advent is our honor and celebration of the defining event of history—God becomes human—birthed by a virgin. From a feed trough in a Bethlehem barn newborn baby Jesus grew as God in the flesh—God among us—to pay for our sin through his death and then his return to life to transform the very act of death into new creation.

The four weeks of Advent are a time of prayer, meditation, and fasting on the four advents of our faith. Three times God miraculously entered history to prepare humankind for the return their created perfection. The fourth time, God will break into human history to gather His children.

Advent Week One is about Jesus’ arrival on earth in the form of man. The focus of the week is to contemplate the lost state of humankind and the reality of hope found in the birth of the Christ child. After centuries of wait—with great expectation—God arrives to begin His Kingdom.

Advent Week Two highlights Jesus’ arrival into the hearts of His people as they obey Him and become ardent followers. God kept His promise given through the prophet Ezekiel. He will gift His people with a new heart. At Advent I realize anew that the arrival of Jesus is of no benefit for me unless I allow Him to change my heart.

The focus of Advent Week Three is Jesus’ crucifixion and its eternal place in God’s role of restoring humankind into relationship with the Creator. Who would not receive benefit from seven days of attention placed on the reality Jesus died for me. For the third time God intervenes in a miraculous way into the timeline of history to restore humanity to Himself. It is an advent worthy of note.

Advent Sunday Four reminds us of the final divine entrance into the world. God will send Jesus to claim His followers and then terminate history, as we know it. Jesus’ return will be the final event to restore God’s creation defiled by Satan.

At that moment God will invite me into his own newly created neighborhood to live eternally as his child and as his neighbor—a life beyond my grasp to comprehend.  It should be a week of great anticipation to spend seven days at the end of each year to again thank God in advance for a blessing greater than a hundred-gazillion-dollar lottery.

Something is wrong when I willingly buy into the consumerism of Christmas without a second thought to the Advent of Jesus placed on our calendar to celebrate. To spend the Christmas season with intentional focus on God’s advents or divine entrances into planet earth and into my life would not be a bad way to use my time.

Will you share your own ideas as to how we can spend the days of this season to meet afresh The Advent God who we have come to know in Christ?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on In Christ I Meet The Advent God.

One thought on “In Christ I Meet The Advent God

  1. Gary, I really appreciate this blog on Advent. I forwarded it to several of my friends. Keep writing, my friend. You are touching a lot of lives with your articles. We’ll done!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.