The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means ‘Coming’. Many Christians around the world observe Advent by recognising the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a chance to prepare themselves for this special event on the Christian calendar. This year, Tuesday 27th November marks the first of four candles that will be lit, sometimes in the form of a wreath, to signal in the coming of this special event. Each week a new candle is lit until the four weeks mark the lighting of all.
But what is it we are celebrating? What is it we are waiting for?
Of course, it is the Birth of the Baby Jesus.
But it’s more . . . It’s the coming of the Messiah. What does this mean to us?
Matthew 2:6 quotes the Old Testament (OT) book of Micah, “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler, Who will shepherd My people Israel.”
The OT was written to create an anticipation of, and pave the way, for the coming of Christ. Throughout the entire OT are predictions and foregleams of His coming. By the time we come to the end of the OT, the entire story of Christ has been pre-written in language and symbol, which, taken as a whole, cannot refer to any other person in history.
As woman (Eve) fell in the garden of Eden, so through a woman (Mary) would mankind be redeemed (Gen 3:15) Abel’s offering, the call of Abraham, the institution of the Passover, many of David’s psalms, a great deal of the prophets, and much, much more all through the OT lead us to that glorious night in Bethlehem well over 2,000 years ago when God became flesh and dwelt among us, in the persona of His Son Jesus, the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.
Isaiah 7:13,14 says, “O house of David . . . a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (which means ‘God with us’)
Isaiah 9: 1,2,6,7 says, “In Galilee . . . the people have seen a great light . . . For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, from henceforth even forever.”
Jeremiah 23:5,6 says, “The days come, says the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, a King, this is His Name whereby He shall be called, ‘The Lord Our Righteousness’.”
Early in the OT it is stated that the Hebrew nation was being founded for the blessing of all nations (Gen 12:3, 18:18, 22:18) Then we begin to see One Person through whom this will be accomplished. First He is called Shiloh, then He is called Star, then a Prophet like Moses, then He is spoken of over and over as King, Prince, Anointed One, First Born, Wonderful, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. It was foretold He would be born of a virgin, at Bethlehem, and spend some time in Egypt, and be raised in Nazareth.
It is an incredibly important event we celebrate each year, but sadly buried under a heap of tinsel, carousing and over-spending, that leaves many buried under a pile of debt and disillusionment. This is not what God intended when He sent His only Son from the glorious beauty of paradise, to earth. For us. Just for us.
It’s an unbelievably amazing thing He came to earth to do. For us.
Let’s celebrate His Birth with the respect He deserves, and not over-indulge in any way, but from this week until the date in December that we’ve chosen to celebrate this momentous event in history, be aware of and anticipate His coming with joyful hearts, and generosity for those less fortunate.
Not everybody does the advent candles. But they represent the Light of the world, Jesus.
John 14:6 says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no-one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. When we hold on to the hurts in our lives and refuse to forgive we hinder the Holy Spirit from being able to effectively work in our lives.
In Matthew 6:14,15 Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Why do you suppose God requires us to be forgiving? Well, its simple really. He forgave us our sins by sending His Son Jesus, to die for us. Jesus Himself, as He hung on that cross, forgave those who had tortured Him, and crucified Him. If Jesus, the Son of God, can forgive, who are we to hold grudges?
No matter how badly and unjustly we have been treated in our lives, God requires forgiveness on our part. It won’t make the memory go away or maybe not the hurt either, but it frees us from fear and anxiety and we begin to heal. Even get to a place where we can begin to pray for our aggressors. Intercede for them.
Corrie Ten Boom was an ordinary middle aged lady who was interred in a Nazi prison camp during WW2. God spoke to her at that time about the importance of not becoming bitter and unforgiving. After the war she travelled all over the world teaching about forgiveness. At that time after one of her talks, she came face to face with the very soldier from the camp who had been one of her main offenders and she shook his hand and forgave him! What a lot to forgive! You may or may not have read her two books, The Hiding Place, and Tramp for the Lord. Worth a read, if you are struggling with hurt in your life and can’t let go of feelings of resentment, hatred and vengeance. Very humbling, amazing read!
In Corrie’s words, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.”
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
It’s the most amazing thing we can do in our Christian walk.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
By forgiving others, we acknowledge what Jesus did for us at Calvary. We do the same, and as we walk with Him, we grow closer and closer as He walks beside us each day.
So . . . it’s been a while . . . Since moving house (which at my 65 years was awful . . .) in June of this year 2018, my old computer died and I had to purchase a new one. I’ve had to learn all over again so much! I have had so much trouble trying to get my Blue Voda website (the other one) onto this new computer, that I thought I would give it a go here. Except, it just looks like a blog! Not what I expected! I’ve so had it with technology, that I’m just about ready to totally give up on any of it at all !!!!!!!!!! My old, old, old computer gave me so many more options for being creative. The new Publisher ~ sucks major, and now I’ve paid for a website that looks like a blog!!!
So having vented and almost gotten all of my frustrations out, I am going to attempt, seeing as I’ve paid for it, to do my best to give you all of the content I had on my other website. Which, by the way is no longer there. It has been cancelled. And I am enjoying the simplicity of being here. So this is it ~ my new home!
Here is some of my latest art ~
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow ~ James 1:17