“He’s coming!” Oh the excitement that must have stirred in Mary and Joseph’s hearts as they awaited the advent, the coming of their precious son. The advent- the coming or arrival- of this baby boy had been set into motion at the beginning of time. As soon as sin entered the world, we needed this advent.
There had been hints of his arrival throughout Israeli history. A sacrifice was provided to save Issac, Abraham’s only son, pointing to the advent of our provision. Moses led the people to place the blood of the lamb on their doorpost, ensuring death would pass over them, pointing to the advent of our Passover Lamb who would once and for all provided the covering we needed for eternal death to pass over us. Isaiah and Micah spoke of his advent. The anticipation was building, the oppression was mounting and the advent of the Messiah, the Savior was needed.
Then there was silence.
No hints, no prophecies, no nothing for four hundred years.
Had the advent been forgotten?
During the 400 years between the Old and New Testament people were busy. They were cooking, cleaning, learning, planting, harvesting, managing households and businesses. They were attending worship, performing civic duties, and building families. Life marched on. Seasons came and went. Years passed and the rhythm of life took over. Was there an ache in their hearts for His advent, or were they too busy with life? Was life too noisy for them to hear the whisper of God?
God sent an angel who spoke these words:
“Do not be afraid…your prayers have been heard…”
And all of a sudden, thousands of years of waiting for the advent of God’s son was over!
He was going to be their Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, their Prince of Peace. He was going to be their wise King. He was going to rule justly- upholding up the oppressed and putting the oppressors under their feet. His advent was the advent of justice and righteousness.
The magnitude of this advent was not lost on Mary. She pondered all these things.
We are in another season of advent, one that lasts past Christmas Day- past when all the decorations come down, and past when we all return to the rhythms of normal life. We are awaiting the advent of Jesus, our soon and coming victorious King. We need victory. We have needed it since the beginning of time. The anticipation our victor’s advent is growing, but the oppression is mounting all around us as well.
We see hints of this second advent. Anytime there is victory over sin, a relationship restored, a step of faith risked, or wrong is made right, we feel it in our hearts. That thing that says, “This is a taste of what it will be like with the advent of our victorious King.”
Yet He does not come year after year after year.
He feels silent at times.
What should we do between these two advents? The advent of His birth gave us the “thrill of hope” and the advent of His kingdom coming will finally give us “peace on earth”, but how are we spending our advent season while we are awaiting His arrival? Much like those living during the first advent season, life marches on, seasons come and go. Years pass and the rhythm of life feels eternal. Is there an ache in our hearts for His advent or are we too busy with life? Is life too noisy for us to hear the whisper of God?
He is coming! He promised it! It has been prophesied! Admittedly, the advent feels long, but in this advent season, He has left us some instructions. Micah 6:8 says,
“….and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”Micah 6:8
Opening doors on a calendar with chocolate inside is easier than seeking justice. Lighting a candle is less messy than loving mercy. Hanging ornaments on a tree comes with less risk than walking humbly with our God. Yet this is the advent activity we have been instructed to do.
If you listen closely enough, I believe God is saying to us, “Fear not. I have heard your prayers. Not only have I come, I AM coming. You can trust me.”
I pray that while celebrating these two seasons of advent, we could truly ponder these things in our hearts. He is our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace.
Let the magnitude of advent not be lost on us.
Let us seek justice.
Let us love mercy.
Let us walk humbly with our God.
5th Grade Instructor