O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is in Him.
Psalm 62:5

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus.

In Latin Advent is “adventus” which in Greek the word is “parousia”, is commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. So for Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. First, in the flesh in Bethlehem, second, in our hearts daily, and lastly, in glory at His second coming.

Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” as God’s people wait in expectation for the return of Christ in glory to usher in His eternal kingdom. The church, during this season, also looks back at Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when He returns for His people. In this light, the Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents our cry during this Christmas season:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

While Advent is certainly a time of celebration and expectation of Christ’s birth, it’s also within that shadow, that the miracle of Christmas can be fully understood and appreciated. It is only in the light of Christmas that the Christian life makes any sense. It is between the fulfilled promise of Christ’s first coming and the promise of His second coming that Karl Barth penned these words long ago, “Unfulfilled and fulfilled promise are related to each other, as are dawn and sunrise. Both are promise and in fact the same promise. If anywhere at all, then it is precisely in the light of the coming of Christ that faith has become Advent faith, the expectation of future revelation. But faith knows for whom and for what it is waiting. It is fulfilled faith because it lays hold on the fulfilled promise.”

So this Christmas, let’s live in the moment! Yes, in the moment of excitement as we expectantly wait on God’s promises that He willingly wants to give to us this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Dave

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