By Jon Browning
Advent of the ages
My mother put within me a profound love of Christmas. A deep reverence not to be forgotten in this world and put to better glory in the world to come. Perhaps it is one of the greatest shortcomings of Christendom to relegate the season of Holy Advent to December 25. Is the Resurrection or Advent greater? The answer is that neither is greater than the other for God has performed both, one is unable to stand without the other, both messages and purposes last forever. Ask yourself, "How does Advent impact us beyond its "season?" The prophet Isaiah (9:2,6-8) gives the answer.
The light love of Advent
Not the pseudo commercial-driven "love" of accumulating future yard sale goods. Yet people who put up lights and buy gifts are unknowingly celebrating the Advent whether they believe in Christ or not. Isaiah foretells that the people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. God so moved at the darkness of our sin that He loved us enough to send piercing light in the form of His Son to bring us out of darkness. Love transcends evil. The love of rescuing us from utter darkness teaches us that the mission of God is a lifelong one. We travail in this dark world, and though when we receive Christ in our hearts, that darkness is cancelled, we yet rub shoulders with those still groping. It is for us to hang out the lantern of the Gospel and shout aloud on the dark path, beckoning others to come into the ark of safety. The old carol says, "Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light and Usher In The Morning!" We do this by our charity to the needy and a life witness before others how Christ changed and is changing you daily in the picture of His Son, dissipating darkness from the light He put in us.
The caroled purpose of Advent
No other season has its own genre of music. I listen to carols all year! Why? Because the purpose of the message never wears out. God's mission has you in mind. You, dear reader, are the entire purpose of all the planning and payment that separated a sinless Son from His Father, having taken on our sins, in our place, our hell, for our sakes. Had Jesus not taken on flesh in the manner Gabriel's Annunciation outlaid God's plan, Christ's atoning death would have no meaning. His death took a horrible but short span of time relatively, yet His life among us, feeling our temptations and agonizing with our mortal existence, yet never sinning Himself, enables His mission right now as High Priest, who is interceding before the Father on your behalf. Shall we not sing aloud great praises to our God, even as the Heavenly Host did when they split the sky and the Glory of God shown round about the shepherds? Let the watching world see your faith in Christ by your singing. Singing is curious as it is contagious to onlookers. When the world sees you glorifying God with your praises year round, it will put within them a question, turning into a desire to know Who it is that makes the difference in your actions.
The omnipotent zeal of Advent
The zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform the glorious plan of Redemption, Isaiah tells us. Zeal means great desire driving a great action. God was not obligated to send His Son for us. The greatest thought crossing my mind was that of God and heaven were fine without us, but He wanted me there! Oh the joy! This world will end, but His zealous love for you will not! None can stand against His plans! Vagabonds made kings forever, ceasing never! His lavished love cannot begin to be measured but only by the inexhaustible depths of His heart! As the wise men opened their bountiful gifts to the Christ child, let us open our hearts daily to Him, the King Everlasting, most glorious, most holy and most sovereign, Jesus Christ. This Christmas, my gift to you, reader, is the message of His hope for you, for the world, for the ages! Let the Advent of His heart change yours forever. He won't turn you away.
Browning may be contacted at jonathanbrowni...@me.com