(This also appears this week in our church e-letter, the CCC Weekly. Sign up at the website on the lower, left-hand side)
Yesterday afternoon, I found myself strolling down the office hallway toward my office singing the song It’s Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas, doing my best Bing Crosby (I’m not sure the staff was into it as much as I was). A few things conspired to bring about this Christmas spirit.
First, the date on the calendar shows me it is that time of year again (already). Second, I had breakfast with a great friend, and the joint we went to was all decked out, as well as many other businesses we drove by. Finally, as you will see if you attend services at Calvary this weekend, the decorations for Christmas have gone up in the lobby and worship center. It all serves to get a guy in the mood.
But we are Christ-followers. So this time of year isn’t just about Bing and pine garland, egg nog and Russian tea-cakes, as good as all those things are – and they are good.
Most importantly, December brings this stunning reminder: God came as a man to save people from their sins. We celebrate Advent – the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world.
Therefore, this season is for more than just presents and carols, it is meant for sharpening and deepening our understanding of the incarnation, and all that God was accomplishing through that event in his historical rescue plan for humanity. Hear this afresh from the Apostle John:
John 1.1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1.6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John 1.10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
John 1.14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (NLT-SE)
This Sunday, November 29th, is the first Sunday of Advent. I suggest you start a new tradition this year (or continue an existing one) – spend time at least a few evenings a week going through Scripture with family and/or friends, reflecting on the advent of Jesus Christ. And come back to this space over the next couple of weeks, as I’ll continue to reflect on Advent, and some ideas for how to celebrate it.
Sola Deo Gloria,