Issue #38

Advent Looking Forward and Back, Messianic Prophecy, Grappling with Old Testament Violence, and more...

Issue #38
Photo by Waldemar Brandt / Unsplash

Welcome to the season of Advent! Or, well, week three of advent. This is the time of year that we celebrate the coming of our Lord, Jesus the Messiah of the Jews, God in Flesh, to dwell as a human among us.

I love this season. I love the Christmas hymns (Hark the Herald Angels Sing is my favorite), I love the with family, the good food and conversation, and this year I love watching my almost-three-year-old explode with excitement about all the Christmas trimmings and presents to come. Like many Christians, I’m concerned about the commercialism and focus on materialism that our modern culture has around Christmas.

I only started celebrating the advent season a few years ago, but the focus has helped me to orient myself on Jesus, his first coming, and his second coming. Amid some general links as I usually do, I have included some Advent and Christmas-themed links. Our first one, below, is a great way to start thinking about advent, the historic traditions around it, and how you can incorporate it into your family (even if it's a family of one!) life.

Family Focus 🏡

Advent Is for Looking Forward and Looking Back | Noël Piper 📃 →

For looking back:

In fact, God revealed to them that they were not the ones who would see the sufferings and glory of God’s Christ. “They were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1 Pet. 1:12). They were serving us. We Christians on this side of Jesus’ birth are a God-blessed, happy people because we know God’s plan. The centuries of waiting are over. We have the greatest reason to celebrate.

And for looking forward:

And yet we are still waiting. Our spiritual redemption came to us with the baby of Bethlehem. Nonetheless, as Romans 8 says, “we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). There is suffering and tragedy still, even for Christians. Someone we love is dying. We may be in pain. Sometimes we have trouble believing God’s promises. In other words, our redemption is not complete. We are waiting for the redemption of our bodies—waiting for Jesus’ second advent, for him to come again.

Advent isn’t about just one or the other, but both:

So here we stand in the middle. Advent is a season of looking back, thinking how it must have been, waiting for the promised salvation of God, not knowing what to expect. And at the same time, Advent is a season of looking ahead, preparing ourselves to meet Jesus at his Second Coming.

She goes deeper into how traditional advent traditions, like advent candles and calendars, point us back and point us forward.

For More:

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