I love seeing the excitement and wonder in my children’s eyes at Christmas. The sights, sounds, and smells of the season interrupt the rhythms of life in the best way, much like the Incarnation interrupted the silence of God some 2,000 years ago. Can you imagine the shepherds amazement? Who would have thought that heaven would meet them on that fateful night to be the first visitors to welcome the Christ child?
The anticipation and wonder of Christmas is Emmanuel. On this first day of Advent, let us consider how Christ came not only to dwell on earth temporarily, but into our hearts eternally. Christmas is living proof of God’s love for us because Christ humbled himself by becoming one of us. He is the Son of Man.
Advent means arrival. Christ came once as a man, yet fully divine. Christ will come again, but this time as a conquering King. Sin and death were defeated on a rugged cross and an empty grave. It is Christ’s victory for which heaven and earth rejoices.
And one day…
There will be peace.
Oppression shall cease.
And all will bow before the King of Kings.
But for now, we wait with hope. “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25).
May Christmas not be sentimental for us. It cannot be. For Christians, everything we believe hangs on the fact Christ has come. And we hold fast to the hope that He will come again to make all things new.
Some of our family’s practices at Christmas are probably not too different than yours. We are decorating our tree later today. We hung a garland, lights, our Little People nativity, and our Advent calendar. We read a devotional every night together throughout the Advent season focusing on the Incarnation. We have gone through “Truth in the Tinsel” and Sally Lloyd Jones’ Jesus Storybook Bible Advent readings, but this year we are going to read through Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. We like to sing Christmas hymns and bake treats for friends. It is a season of resting and giving as we remember Christ who gave us Himself and called us to His rest.
May this Advent season cause you to wonder, reflect, rest, and rejoice as you remember our Savior. May you cease striving and know that Jesus is God, Emmanuel, who brings both comfort and joy for weary sinners. Be blessed this season, and always in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!