We have entered the Christmas season!
This is a time to reflect on what's coming... who's coming. We are ushering in the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let's make this a meaningful time - not just Christmas day, the arrival of baby Jesus - but this pre-Christmas season, this time of anticipation. What better way to do so than to search Scripture.
The Bible has a storyline. When we begin by reading about the birth of Jesus, we come into the story late. We missed something significant. We disregard the anticipation Scripture build to allow us to truly appreciate the birth of Christ.
So, let's back up a few pages in our Bible and understand the scene into which Jesus is born!
The Story: Stuck in Sin
The story of the Bible begins with God creating this earth out of nothing. Everything He creates, He deems "good". He makes Adam and Eve and gives them a level of authority over the earth. They live in perfect communion with each other and with God.
Then sin enters the scene, and everything changes. Generation after generation is stuck in sin, struggling to truly trust God or not even trying to follow Him at all. God gives His people the Law, a set of rules to live by that would deem them worthy of eternal life.
The Law was only meant to show us that we, on our own, cannot escape the bounds of sin.
We are stuck.
The Story: We Need a Savior
Clearly, nothing we do in our own strength, no matter how hard we try, can save us and give us eternal life or a right relationship with God. We need someone to stand in the gap!
We need a Savior!
Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi
These three prophets get the last word in the Bible before the arrival of Jesus. God's nation had just gone through years in their exile, a disciplinary measure from God, and are now reconciled and rebuilding their nation.
Haggai and Zechariah are concerned with rebuilding the temple and preparing for the day of the Lord. Malachi, possibly a few generations later, warns God's people to rid themselves once again of their sin and heed God's commandments.
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Malachi 4:5-6
This prophecy of the coming of Elijah, who at this time has lived and died, refers to John the Baptist, whose role in the gospels is to prepare the way for Jesus' teaching ministry.
The warning is clear. The coming of Jesus can mean one of two things for you: 1. Be a part of a new generation whose hearts are reconciled with God or 2. destruction through unbelief.
That's a pretty harsh warning for the last words spoken before Jesus' arrival. Where is the warm and cozy Christmas spirit? It's in the promise of hope for reconciliation with God.
The coming of Jesus means that after years of living in darkness, we are about to meet the Light.
Our Savior is coming. There is hope for us yet.
Setting the Scene
Envision the scene with me. If this were a movie, we'd leave on that dark note right before the climax of our story. Mankind is in a desperate situation. They cannot get themselves out. They need a hero to save them. The screen goes dark.
Then, a light appears and reveals the well-known manger we have been awaiting. Our excitement rises with the soft background music. We are about to meet our hero, our Savior.
That's Advent season! A time of anticipation, of remembering just why we need Jesus.
So let's begin here on this first Advent.
Reflect on why you need Jesus, your Savior. Let's make this time of reflection last more than two seconds or a quick mental answer of "Because... hmm, it'll come to me later." (Let's face it, ladies, we've all been there. We get easily distracted.)
Let me help you reflect on your need for a Savior, and thereby truly prepare your heart for Christmas. Allow your excitement over the birth of Jesus to be at the forefront of your mind this December.
Sign up to download your FREE reflection page, and fill your mind with excitement for the coming of Christ!
And come back next week for more of "The Word on Christmas" series as we explore how the Bible prophesies the coming and life of Christ.
May God fill you with anticipation for Christmas.