“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” – Rev. 22:12 & 20b.
The word “advent” means arrival or coming of something anticipated. The weeks preceding Christmas is a time of waiting as we prepare our hearts for the arrival of the Christ child.
Like Mary, we “ponder these things” about Christ. We wonder in amazement and marvel with joy that God would take on flesh and enter this messy world of ours.
Advent gives us the opportunity to dwell on the Love that arrived in the most unexpected of places, a stable. And it reminds us that we are awaiting the second Advent and Christ’s final return.
In the time before Christ Jesus, devout Jews were living in great expectation looking forward to the coming of God’s promised Messiah to bring them restoration to peace, prosperity and spiritual wholeness. In Jeremiah 33:14-16 God was not just talking about the return of the exiles of Judah from Babylon.
He was actually foretelling the days when Jesus the Messiah will establish His Kingdom on earth. His Name – The Lord our Righteousness! The Jews were looking forward to that day BUT when He came, many did not see the Saviour. Oh a few did: Simeon, Ana, the Shepherds and the Magi.
And when Jesus began His ministry, many other did – righteous Jews including Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. After His resurrection, many others recognized Him as Saviour and Lord and in fact, it is through their witnessing that you and I have come to faith in Christ Jesus.
However, the establishment – both religious and political didn’t even accept Him, even worse still, they persecuted and killed Him.
Before we jump to hasty conclusion and say that we will never do that let us hear the words of the Lord Jesus Himself about the second coming in Luke 21:25-36 – “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.
Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
“Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
- The time is unknown though some visible signs will occur;
- What we need to take seriously is Jesus admonition to be watchful about our lifestyles;
- We should not be so preoccupied with the pleasures and cares of this world that we fail to be prepared for His coming;
- We must be spiritually faithful because
- Jesus Himself says He will come at an unexpected time.
- There are many charlatans and false prophets and teachers.
- The world has become so demanding of our hearts and minds and time! Even in the
minor things of life.
Even right now, we are more concerned with what to eat and what to wear and where to put our heads. As for this Christmas time, we are more preoccupied with the tinsel, the carols, the lightings and the pastries. But Christmas has a deeper meaning
The Basic Significance of Christmas
The basic message of Christmas is the announcement that God, the Almighty Creator of the universe, has come into the world in the human form of a person whose birth name is Jesus. This is the news of God’s incarnation in human flesh. The apostle John has given the appropriate meaning to this historic event in his statement that, “No one has even seen God, but God the One and Only (referring to Jesus Christ), who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known” – John 1:18.
In regard to gifts, the gifts of the Magi that were given to Jesus and Mary and Joseph in their act of worship, or gifts that are shared between family and friends in this Christmas festival, it should be recognized and emphasized in our celebrations that the primary and most important gift is God’s gift of “His One and Only Son” – John 3:16 whom He sent into the world “to save the world” – John 3:17.
Without the message of God’s incarnation in human flesh and the gift of His Son, Jesus, for the salvation of the world, the celebration of Christmas by Christians or anyone else is just another secular festival among many on one’s calendar of annual holidays. There can be no “peace” on earth or real “joy” in a human’s heart apart from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
The gifts of these blessings through the birth of Jesus Christ is worth celebrating and the sharing of God’s love to the world is worth repeating over and over again in gifts and contributions, but we Christians need to make sure that our Christmas celebrations are for the glory of God and nothing else.
SING, WE THE KING WHO IS COMING TO REIGN – MHB 116 (verse 1&5)
1 Sing we the King who is coming to reign,
Glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain,
Life and salvation his empire shall bring
Joy to the nations when Jesus is King.
Come let us sing: Praise to our King,
Jesus our King, Jesus our King;
This is our song, who to Jesus belong:
Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.
5 Kingdom of Christ, for thy coming we pray,
Hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day
When this new song thy creation shall sing,
Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.
Charles Silvester Horne (1865-1914)
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