The Season of Advent

This past week was the first week of Advent which is, of course, a time of awaiting the coming of the Christ.  We observe the first waiting experienced by the Israelites in exile, but also take note of our own waiting for his return.

All through the OT, they are expecting, not personal salvation so they would go to heaven, but release from oppression, good new for the poor, liberty for the captives, a promised land.  That is the story from Genesis; the Lord redeeming his people from suffering and oppression, into the promised land, where they would be his people, and He would be their God.  “O come, o come Emmanuel (God with us) and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears.”  That is the spirit of advent;  of waiting for the Lord to come and do his redemptive work.  We today are certainly in a similar state of waiting; one which the season of Advent should only be a symbol.  We are in a continual Advent. But ours is not to be an idle waiting! Remember how many parables Jesus told about the Kingdom of God where the master was away, but coming back.  In all of them, the servants had jobs to do.  They were not to be simply waiting, minding their own business.

When Jesus began his ministry, he read among the synagog, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-21- see also Isaiah 61:1-4) This is the gospel that he came to proclaim, and we should be doing the same. Remember how often Jesus says ‘serve as I came to serve, love as I love, forgive as I forgive’, etc.  Doing as Jesus did is a very common theme and command that has far reaching implications.

Members of "The Village Global" pray for a widow receiving materials to start a self-sustaining chicken farm.

Members of “The Village Global” pray for a widow receiving materials to start a self-sustaining chicken farm.

We are in a peculiar time.  He has come once, and we await his coming again.  But while he was here, he began something amazing.  He set forth a way to enter into his kingdom now, though not fully.  As Paul says now we see “as through a glass, darkly” what we will see soon as if face to face. (1Corinth 13:12).  His kingdom has begun but is yet to come in full, and as a part of his kingdom, we are to do his work until he returns. “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” (Matt.24:46)

Through the gospel, the Lord calls us to salvation and service.  The two are really inseparable.  All of our holidays are a reminder, in different ways, of that fact.  Advent, leading up to Christmas, is the recognition and reminder of the fact that Israel awaited something specific, that Jesus came to do a specific work, and that we are to be doing that work until he comes again.  That is what it means to be a part of the Kingdom of God; to be doing the work that he initiated in his first coming. We see this in the inclination to generosity during the Christmas season because we inherently have the conviction that we should help the needy.  But why do we only do this around Christmas?  This is the charge of the Christian.  This is living out the gospel every day, “even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve…” (Matt. 20:28)

So my exhortation this Advent season is to come, be a part of the wonderful Kingdom of redemption that Jesus began and is bringing to fruition through us until the day of completion.  His birth was only the beginning of the beginning.  Let’s participate obediently and wholeheartedly in his work.  If you are a disciple of this Christ, obeying all that he commanded, then ‘the spirit of The Lord is upon you, because he has anointed you to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent you to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of The Lord’s favor.’  Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: