Advent, when first I participated in it, was so very different from what I had imagined. The Nativity comes into play, absolutely, but Advent is about being as ready and watchful for Jesus in our hearts and in our future as it is about the fullness of time and the gift of God’s Son.
It has been said that the Lenten season is about repentance and purity, that Easter is about restoration and peace, but Advent is speaks of renewal and purpose.
We will read so many Scriptures about watching and waiting and we’ll see how full this season is of gratitude and hope and revelation! Today’s Scripture reading is a great example. The grace of God is given to us in Jesus, our Lord … we have been enriched in every way … not lacking any spiritual gift! … and sustained to the end, guiltless in Christ. That is a lot of promise! That’s better than a new coffee-maker!
Four weeks of this progression, ardently appreciated and applied, will be the very best gift we could ever receive! There isn’t much we can do about the commercialization of Christmas, except in our own hearts. Now however, in this Advent Season, we can anticipate the fresh annual focus upon the nearness of our Lord, and that He is ever coming into the world, and that He will come again and restore all things. During the days leading up to December 25th, we can rejoice with deepening awareness that He was born Savior, but also the Coming King.
How do we apply it? One of the very best ways is to PRAY THE SCRIPTURES that we will read. That’s a good term, but I would rather think of it as giving answer to God. He speaks through His Word, such as today’s reading, and we respond. Look at verse 7, which is highlighted in today’s passage. The reading doesn’t seem very “Christmas-y” at first glance, but see what Paul says – we are waiting for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ! We give God thanks as we read, for His Son is being revealed. First in us, in the Church, and in countless ways the world over as souls are warmed to the Gospel. Even as the darkness increases, the Light of the World shines brighter and brighter, and we mustn’t forget that.
“Thank You, Father!” we pray, “Do accomplish the full extent of Your will, O Lord, toward us and in us, and grant us grace and faith to seize upon Your faithfulness, for ourselves, our families, and for others. As surely as You have enriched us in all things, as surely as You will sustain us in righteousness, so let us be given to Your faithfulness and to our calling, and especially to the revelation of Your Son in all things.”
So this evening, as we light for the second time our first Advent Candle, let us remember that it is called the Candle of Hope, and what a lively hope this is! Let us receive the blessing of the Apostle Paul as it comes down to us through the ages in Scripture, and give thanks this day that the Son of God will be revealed in our lives. That is a Christmas miracle and a Christmas glory! Amen.
Scripture reading, first Monday of Advent:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge—
even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you—
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, 7) as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
photo by permission
DittyMathew, Wiki Commons