The Awe of Advent
I was at the park with a friend recently and we got talking about Christmas. I mentioned that our family wanted to celebrate Advent and his eyes lit up. (If you don’t know what Advent is, it’s the season in the church calendar where we meditate on Jesus’ 1st coming as a child and his 2nd coming in glory). He told me how he loved Advent. Christmas was full of joy and wonder while he was a child, but he lost that as he got older, until he discovered Advent. Advent brought back the joy and wonder of Christmas for him, not because it made him excited for presents, but because it made him excited about Jesus. I hope this is what we will allow the Advent season to be for us as a church too.
I want to encourage you to think about how you can intentionally cultivate joy and wonder in Jesus this Advent season. In my house, we’re starting by just reading some Scripture each morning at the breakfast table and getting lost in the story for a little while. You might like to light some candles on one evening each week leading up to Christmas and play a few carols. As a church, we’ve also just begun a new Advent series in the book of Ruth. Can I encourage you to read Ruth and use the Growth Group Guide which has questions not only for the adults but activities and lessons for the kids as well?
Let me leave you with the first Scripture my family and I read to begin Advent. It comes from Genesis 3:14-15.
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
These verses may not be the most obvious place to start, but they are the first time in the Bible where God promises us a deliverer. God promises that someone from Eve’s line would one day crush the head of Satan, and this is exactly what Jesus came to accomplish. This is good news! Why? Well, Satan is really really bad news. He’s not just any enemy, he’s the arch-enemy of God’s people and he delights in evil. The Bible says that he has led the whole world astray (Revelation 12:9) and makes ‘war against… those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus’ (Revelation 12:17). But, we do not need to despair. At Advent we celebrate the fact that God did send his Saviour. In fact, because of Jesus, that ancient serpent will be seized and bound (Revelation 20:2) and eventually thrown into the lake of fire where he will be done away with forever (Revelation 20:10)! Jesus came, and he has won us the victory.
Praise be to God,