Thursday, December 15, 2005

Exhortation-First Sunday in Advent

Today is the First Sunday in Advent. This is a time when we begin to look with anticipation toward the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, this has already happened and to merely commemorate the fact is not a help to our Christian virtue or service to God and His Kingdom. But we don’t merely do anything. We do this with our eyes wide open, understanding that Jesus has already accomplished this work that we remember. But it is good for us to remember, to recover a child like expectation of Christmas. We long for the day, though we have experienced it many times before. We enjoy the season, the greenery, the decorations, the tree, the hot chocolate, the fudge, the wine, the turkey and ham, the bread.

These are all wonderful and to be enjoyed. But most of all we look forward to the presents. We know that there will be many under the tree and we desire to open them up and see what new treasures we have found. This is the kind of anticipation that we should imagine and cultivate as we look forward to the gift of Christ, of Messiah, of the Savior, of Jesus Christ. God gave us Jesus and we should open Him, if you will, with eager expectation, every Christmas Day.

Another important aspect of Advent is recovering something very important that has been lost. As modern day evangelicals we do not pay much attention to the calendar. We keep vestiges of it with Christmas and Easter but we, as an American culture, are trying hard to stamp out the evidence of our Christian past. The name Christmas is objected to and has become just a holiday. But even there they cannot get away from Christian language. For what is a holiday but a holy day? But the rest of the calendar is ignored in our culture largely because we Christians ignore it. The fight for the naming of the year is a very important fight.

The year is 2005, A. D. Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. It is the Lord’s year. He has taken control of history. The year is His. We should do well to remember this and so mark time A.D., Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. It makes sense to remember the Lord’s year, his birth, circumcision, purification, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, seating at the right hand of God the Father, coming in power at Pentecost, and His reign there until all enemies are subdued beneath His feet so that He can return in final glory. This is true history. This is God’s story. This is our story. Let us mark time this way lest we forget.

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