advent: day one (intro) and two (before the beginning)

how lovely this place to be with you, to be with you
oh the brightness of your face here with you, here with you
my only calm is you
my only thought is you

-David Crowder

I wrote some thoughts for church for Advent and will be sharing them here until Christmas… which means some days I’ll be posting more than one blog and that today I am posting yesterday’s and today’s… Yesterday’s blog was pre-empted by an unfortunate soup incident… a story for another day. Questions are by Bob Oliver.

Intro
Isaiah 9:6

We know that Christmas is coming.

Or do we? Do we know that Christmas is coming?

We’ve barely cleared the post-Thanksgiving dishes. For weeks we’ve stared at aisles lined with holly and peppermint canes at shopping centers galore. Our wallets have groaned as they yielded another pile of cash or surrender of plastic in exchange for piles of just-right or obligatory gifts collecting in the front hall closet (in a box labeled Good Will and covered with old clothes so the kids don’t see). They still need sorting, wrapping, labeling…

The word advent is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning, simply enough, coming. The season marks the period of waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus, starting four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Over the coming weeks, we’ll prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus in a two-fold manner. We’ll look back to the Hebrew story of waiting for Jesus to come redeem their story. “A child will be born,” the Scriptures foretold, and so they waited.

We’ll also look forward to the return of Christ and the promise that He will fully redeem our story, the human story, for eternity.

The trappings of Christmas ought not distract us from this great hope that is Jesus who came and is coming again.

How will you prepare your heart?

Before the Beginning
John 1:1, Genesis 1:1-2, I John 4:7

Before it all began, God existed in three persons. The complexity of the Trinity in terms of how three can be one might be simplified while remaining mysterious with this thought: God is relationship. To know God is to know relationship, because before the beginning there was God, and His essence is relational. The substance of that relationship is love.

To consider the story the Bible tells, one benefits to remember (especially as the fall begins to devastate the created order) that God in three persons existed in relationship. The Father spoke a world into existence that is held together by the Son who the Spirit empowered. The created beings (humanity) He entrusted with caring for the world may have fallen, but the Son’s destiny to hold the world together would lead Him to an Incarnate life. The perfection of His life would allow the fallen order of the world to be reversed, and with that reversal came the indwelling Spirit, the same Spirit who empowered the Son, for all who believe.

The Christmas story, then, began before the beginning of time with a relational, loving God who would ultimately go to great lengths to restore loving relationship as the context for life on earth.

Where has God brought reversal in your life as you live in loving relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit?

Where do you most need to be restored as a relational human being by God the Father, Son and Spirit?

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