An Invitation to Advent: Day One

What you and I need is usually not a brand-new teaching. Brand-new truths are probably not truths. What we need are reminders about the greatness of the old truths. We need someone to say an old truth in a fresh way. Or sometimes, just to say it.

This excerpt from the preface of John Piper’s book The Dawning of Indestructible Joy caught my attention. For unknown reasons, my heart has been gently stirred toward sharing devotional thoughts throughout this Advent season. Not that I have anything new to say on the subject of remembering and anticipating the arrival of the Christ child already come, but sometimes we need to rehear truth.

We need someone to say an old truth in a fresh way. Or sometimes, just to say it.

My words shared here will most likely fall under the description of the latter. I may not cause one to wonder at the eloquence of my syntax, but I pray you will be captured again by the wonder of truth retold. For while the realities of joy and peace and hope cannot be taken away from those who are in Christ, I daresay our awareness of and response to them can be lulled to sleep. If you’re anything like me, you may need to be reawakened to wonder — to have your soul stirred to the miraculous glad tidings of great joy — the presence of Immanuel come. To stay.

I invite you to join me on this journey through the month of December as we open hearts wide to receive anew this great joy that is for all people. How sad if we stand before the miracle of Christmas and feel nothing but the hustle and bustle the world throws our way. How awful if, in our busy holiday schedule, we overlook the very One whose life we profess to celebrate.

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… From His abundance we all have received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is Himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.  — John 1:14,16-18, NLT

What an incredible wonder – God come to us to reveal Himself through the person of Jesus Christ. But not just for a mere thirty-three years’ life span. When Immanuel was birthed into His earthly role, He came with eternal goals in mind. He came to bring good news of great joy for all people and to break the chains of death which had hovered over creation since the fall of Adam and Eve. When Jesus descended to earth, it was to save mankind for keeps.

The Savior came to claim us with His presence and to transform us daily and forever by the power of His Holy Spirit within us. Did you get that? He didn’t just come near us; He came to live in us, setting up shop to change us from the inside out so that we could not only see His glory, but so we would reveal it to others by living a new life in Christ. Never more to live without hope. No longer struggling through life without peace. But chosen and called to declare His praises with every breath breathed on this side of eternity . . . and beyond.

This Advent, I invite you to join me in a holy soaking. I pray we fall so deeply into the wonder of this Good News that we are overcome by the great joy He has promised. I hope you personalize this gift, realizing in deeper measure than ever before that this joy is for you. Whether your holiday preparations find you breathlessly scrambling to prepare for a celebration with a multitude of folks or if it is yet another heavy and grievous reminder of your loneliness, I pray you see Jesus above it all. I pray you turn your heart heavenward. May you take a deep breath and quiet yourself to wait in restful anticipation of His coming even as you invite His holy presence to be present with you in every moment of this Christmas season.

Lift up your head, dear one, and look. I mean, really look for Jesus in these moments that surround you, wherever you may find yourself (especially if where you are is not exactly where you wish to be). He is here. He is with you. And He is inviting you to invite Him to come and stay for awhile. To linger long and to fill you in on His best kept secret.

And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing His glory.
– Colossians 1:27b

What we need are reminders about the greatness of the old truths. We need someone to say an old truth in a fresh way. Or sometimes, just to say it.

Let this be your reminder.

May the wonder of Advent be birthed in your heart beginning today.

FOR REFLECTION
Colossians 1:26-27 shares the message that had been hidden for centuries but was now revealed to God’s people so they would know that the riches and glory of Christ are meant for everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing His glory. Think on that and personalize it for yourself: Christ in me. The Hope of the Ages; The Light of the world; Savior and Redeemer . . .  in me. What is your response to realizing the secret of Jesus in you? How will believing this truth affect the way you live today?

img_5899NOTE: This exploration of Scripture is happening on a daily basis in my life. It has not been thought out ahead of time nor will it follow the traditional readings you would likely find in writings on the subject of Advent. I tend to “bunny trail” in my study time, so who knows where the Lord will take us. I’ll do my best to post daily up until Christmas, but if I miss a day or two, please bear with me. I hope you enjoy and are encouraged by this journey, but more importantly, I hope you rediscover the wonder of Christmas’s King. Immanuel has come, my friend. He is here, and He is coming again. That’s a timeless truth worth retelling.

 

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