Advent: Anticipating Christ

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 NKJV).

The Incarnation of the Eternal Word – Jesus Christ – is the great redemptive miracle of the Christian faith.  The union of humanity and divinity in the person of Jesus means that his crucifixion and resurrection have defeated the power of sin and death and brings the promise of eternal life to all who believe. This redemptive event is most often associated with the celebration of Christmas. However, in the last century the celebration of Christmas has lost its Christological focus. So, the challenge before us is to discover, or rediscover, ways by which the church can once again focus its worship on this wonderful event.

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The Sacred Seasons

He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time (Daniel 7:25 NRSV).

In 586 BC, the Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Jews to the environs of Babylon. For seventy years the Jews lived in exile. Even in exile the war continued. In his war against the saints of God, the Babylonian king sought to change the times which were established by God as holy days for His people.  In doing so the the king robbed God’s people of their spiritual heritage and promise. The Babylonian king was trying to transform the people of Israel into Babylonians.

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A Relevant Gospel

If the church is to succeed in reaching this generation then the church’s message and methodology must be relevant. After all, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Apostle Paul defined “incarnational ministry” when he said, “I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

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The Dancing Warrior

We often sing, “You dance over me, while I am unaware; You sing all around, but I never hear the sound…” without understanding the beautiful theology contained within the lyrics of the song. While I am uncertain about the author’s source of inspiration, the lyrics reflect the words of the prophet Zephaniah:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (3:17).

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