In Christian tradition time is delineated. There is ordinary time and then there is everything else. Everything else includes unique seasons in the life of the church, most often commemorating significant moments in the life of Jesus Christ. Today marks the end of ordinary time and the beginning of the first holy season––Advent.
We often confuse Advent for Christmas. At Christmas, we remember and celebrate the humble birth of Jesus––the first coming of Jesus. During Advent, we anticipate Jesus’ triumphant return––the second coming of Jesus. Both are intimately tied to one another; you cannot have the second coming without the first. We anticipate the second coming because the first coming occurred.
How Best to Remember & Anticipate?
So, during this Advent season, how can we best remember the birth of our Savior while at the same time anticipate and hope for the return of our King? My encouragement is for us to meditate and reflect upon the person of Jesus. Our Savior and King is one person––Jesus of Nazareth––with two natures––humanity and divinity. In both his birth and return, we see and lift up both. In his birth, his humanity is on display. He he is held, he cries, he hungers, he learns to walk, and more. Jesus is human. But we see his divinity as well. He is conceived by the Holy Spirit, without a human father. He is worshipped as God. In his return, his divinity is on display. He returns as the resurrected Savior, eternal, omnipotent, sovereign, and king. But we see his humanity as well. He comes again in his flesh. He will be seen by all. He will eat. He will be touched by many.
Some might see this meditation and reflection as pointless. Why take a season to think about the person of Jesus? But there are important reasons for our meditation and reflection. In my mind two come to mind––worship and imitation. Don’t mistake worship for inaction. When we worship we participate in the very thing we were created to do. When we meditate and reflect on the incarnation––the divine nature and human nature in one person––it should inspire wonder and worship. How are we to wrap our minds around the divine mystery of the incarnation––God becoming man? And yet it happened; God did in fact become man. When we are left without full comprehension we worship.
But the incarnation also leaves us with an example to follow. Throughout history God has given us instruction, but we might struggle to see a concrete, lived-out example. Enter Jesus. Now we not only have God’s commands, we have his example. We know and see how we are to live. The incarnation provides us the example to imitate. In his humility, Jesus served. In his humanity, Jesus loved. How else should we live?
This Advent season, my prayer is that we would worship the one, true God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Similarly I pray we would model our lives after Jesus, becoming more like God himself.
Over the next several weeks in our “Home for Christmas” sermon series, we are going to meditate and reflect on the person of Jesus. Our focus will be on the humble servant, divine king. Our 4-week journey looks like this:
- Humble – Philippians 2:5–11
- Servant – Galatians 4:4–7
- Divine – John 1:1–14
- King – Ephesians 1:20–23
With this Advent devotional, each week we will spend Monday through Friday meditating and reflecting on our particular weekly focus. For instance, this week each day will be focused on the humility of Jesus. Next week will be about Jesus’ servanthood. Week three will emphasize Jesus’ divinity. We will wrap up Advent by observing Jesus as king. I pray this Advent devotional serves you well.
Lord, as we meditate and reflect on your Son, Jesus, may our worship and imitation of him increase. Amen.