Advent is a time to remember our King. A time to remember His sacrifice and unending grace He extends to us. It is a commitment to celebrate the coming of Jesus and His transformational work in our lives. Advent celebrates the arrival of Jesus thousands of years ago and anticipates His return.
What does Advent mean?
"Advent" is originally derived from the Latin word advents, which means "coming" or "arrival". During the advent season, we celebrate the coming of Jesus in a manger thousands of years ago. Yet, we also anticipate His second coming to our world today. We recognize the longing in our hearts for our Savior to return once more and take us home with Him.
Many thought Jesus would come as an adorned King, but He came in a dirty manger surrounded by farm animals.
The way Jesus came on Earth was unexpected and hidden. Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites are told of a Savior who will come and save them. In the very beginning of creation, we are told of someone who will come and crush the head of the serpent. This serpent who just deceived Adam and Eve into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and making sin, brokenness, and pain enter into the world. However, we are told of someone who will save mankind, yet we are told the serpent will "strike at His heel."
We then meet Abraham whom God establishes a covenant with to be His God. He promises that Abraham will have many descendants who will be a blessing to the world, with many kings. After follow Abraham's family, we find his great grandson Judah who is promised that a king is going to come from his descendants and the whole world will follow this king. He will be a man of peace, harmony, goodness, and abundance. However, when we start reading of the kings who are descendants of Judah and we are disappointed in their lack of goodness and peace. Countless times, the Israelites are hoping that king after king would be the one they've been waiting for. Eventually, these corrupt kings cause the Israelites to become enslaved once again to the great empire of Babylon. At this time, promises of a good and peaceful king seem far off and out of reach to these Israelites in bondage. But during these dark times, many prophets were still prophesying of a coming King and reminding the Israelites of the promise that He will come and defeat evil. If we take a look at Isaiah 53, we see the prophet Isaiah speak of a king who will die for the sins of people. Because of this sacrifice, Isaiah says the sins of people will be forgiven and mankind will be restored back to their original design in the Garden of Eden. This is where the Old Testament ends. No king and no defeating of evil, yet the Israelites are still waiting on the promise of a Savior.
Then we enter into the New Testament and all the prophecies are fulfilled. The promise is kept and Jesus is born in a manger. The anticipation built up for this moment is finally met with a baby born of a virgin in a stable full of dirty animals. Wait, is this the King? Is this the powerful Savior spoken of for hundreds of years? A baby boy? You can imagine the surprise and dismay of many waiting for the arrival of this great King.
Jesus' death on the cross is the price for our freedom.
They couldn't believe that this was the man spoken of who would save them from evil and rescue them from darkness. Yet, over time they saw the way He was breaking the bonds of evil through physical, spiritual, and emotional healing and freedom. Near the end of Jesus' life He tells His close friends that He has come to die. He's come to crush the head of the enemy, but the serpent will strike His heel by killing Him on the cross. This was His purpose all along. To rid our lives of evil and bondage by taking our place. When Jesus dies, it seems as if the story ends in tragedy. Why did this King come only to die? Yet, after three days this once dead King rises again. Now Jesus has power over this evil and death. The rest of the New Testament is proclaiming that Jesus' power over death, evil, and bondage is available to us to begin confronting the evil in our own hearts. This is good news! Yet, we also recognize that evil and death is still a problem in our world. The story of the Bible ends describing a day when Jesus will come back and finishes killing the serpent. He will come back and restore Earth to its original design of goodness and abundance, but until then we wait in anticipation for His return.
Advent is a season of remembering Jesus coming as a baby, and waiting for His second arrival to restore Earth.
During this Christmas season, we have to actively remember what God did for us. He sent His son down to Earth, so we could experience His freedom, grace, and unfailing love. What a beautiful gift and picture of His character! Advent is a chance to remember all Jesus did for us and remember that we have the hope of His return one day. We are not people without hope. We are a people holding onto the hope of a second coming of our Savior who will wipe every tear and restore every broken thing on this world. As you celebrate Christmas, celebrate the birth of Jesus. The birth of a Savior who humbled Himself to come in the form of a baby in a dirty stable. The birth of a King who was prophesied about for hundreds of years. The birth of the Son of God who came to bring restoration to you and the world around you. Remember His grace He extended to you on the cross and continues to extend to you every day. Put your hope in the fact that He is coming back to finish evil once and for all. Live with this hope in your heart and let in permeate your life. Merry Christmas from YWAM LA and may you never forget about the King who came down on Earth for you to experience true freedom and full life.