A note from Lead Pastor Todd Malone
December 2020 – Christmas Anticipation
Christians have celebrated Advent since the 300s. Advent spans the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Each Sunday has a different theme, but the overall emphasis is on anticipation. Advent looks back at the prophets before Jesus who anticipated His coming as a baby. It looks ahead to Jesus’ return.
The four themes we will examine this Advent are traditional advent themes: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The Old Testament prophets lived in hope for the coming Messiah. This Messiah would bless every nation, perfectly fulfill all of God’s requirements, and lead His people before the Lord. The Messiah came, but He is coming again. When He comes again, He will usher in what we anticipate. The blessings will be complete, all violations of God’s law will cease, and we will see the Lord face to face.
Jesus came to teach us how to live at peace with God. He pursued the lost, he invited everyone to live under His rule, and He crushed His enemy. The ramifications play out to this day. Our enemy who troubles us with sin, sickness, and death is a defeated enemy. His days are numbered. We join in Jesus’ mission of seeking the lost. We join in Jesus’ call to a life lived under His rule. We look forward to Jesus’ second coming when all will be fully accomplished. Diseases like Covid will have no power.
Jesus came to replace sorrow with joy. He heals our wounds. He conquered death so we need not fear it. And He is in the process of making all things new. His second advent will be the final conquering of death. All tears will be wiped away, and everything will be as it is supposed to be. We experience glimpses of that transformation today. When Jesus returns, the transformations will be complete, and our joy will not end.
Jesus came to bring God’s love into the world in a way that could not have been anticipated. He was literally God with us. He brought mercy and lifted up the humble. Jesus’ first advent was God with us. Of course, God never leaves us. But we are not with Him in the way that we desire. We want to experience His love in ways we cannot as fallen, broken people. That is the greatest news of the second advent. That is the day we will experience His love in the way we were always meant to experience it.