Monday, December 1, 2014

Solus Christus: The First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. For this opening reading, it’s good for us to start out with a Scripture that encapsulates what Christmas is all about and launches us into the Advent season. Isaiah 9:6-7 followed by Luke 1:68 will do just that for us:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people...
That’s what we celebrate during Christmas time. Christmas is not about greater kindness, bringing happiness to others, learning to walk in others shoes, empathy, spreading joy, or giving.  Those are all good things, but they are not the point of Christmas—they are not what Christmas is all about. It’s about the good news of a child being born—a child whose name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. That child is the second person of the Godhead who became man, so He could redeem His people. Indeed, God Himself has visited and redeemed His people.

Also notice that it was the “zeal of the LORD of hosts” that did this—that sent Jesus. It was not God’s begrudging decision to redeem His people. It was not His last resort after He had exhausted all other means. God was zealous to bring about our redemption through Christ. It was part of His sovereign, immutable, eternal will from before there was time, and He zealously sent His Son to accomplish it.

On this day of Advent, meditate on those Scriptures for a little while. Remember that God zealously (not half-heartedly, apathetically, or begrudgingly) sought our redemption—that He eagerly sought your redemption. You are that loved. Thank Jesus for coming to accomplish your redemption and for being your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. On this first Sunday of Advent, ask Him to give you the power to follow Him—to reform you into His likeness by the Holy Spirit—so that you might be able to be salt and light this Christmas season. Ask Him to prepare your heart for celebrating His incarnation and to build the anticipation so high that no part of culture’s consumerism can occlude it. Ask Him to make you hopeful and eager for His second coming (second advent), and ask God to speed that day. Perhaps it could be today. 

By His Grace,

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