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Advents

12-18-17

This the Advent Season in Christian churches. In ancient rites its observance actually began four or six weeks, or 40 days, before Christmas. And some contemporary churches today might be surprised that there is such a thing – feasts or fasting or celebration or contemplation, looking forward to the birth of the Savior. Christmas is just another day?

“Advent” comes down to us as a word related to “Coming.” Jesus is coming: this is the promise of the Messiah that was seized upon by the faithful for generations. It became real to Mary when the Holy Ghost came upon her and she was told by angels that she had been chosen to bear the Incarnate God, the Messiah, God-with-us, coming to save humankind from its sins. The “Magnificat” is her humble, holy, awesome prayer.

There is an odd fact – so strange that we seldom think of all its meaning – about the Christmas story. Its clarity is not helped by the limitations of language… or, frankly, the limitations of our ability to fully understand or describe certain things.

In the Advent of generations’ hopes and devotions, Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem (plus other, uncountable bits of prophecy). But believers watch and wait, too, for His Second Coming. He will come again with glory, in the twinkling of an eye; the dead in Christ shall rise first to meet Him in the air… you know the verses: the Rapture of the saints, in which we shall share.

“Jesus is coming soon.” Another Advent we observe.

No less solemnly or hope-filled did the followers of Jesus welcome Him to Jerusalem before Passover. “Jesus is coming!” Advent.

When they laid Him in the tomb, those few disciples who had not lost their faith remembered His promise that He would rise from the dead after three days – as, of course, He did. “Jesus is coming!” Advent.

After the Resurrection, He roamed the land for 40 days, preaching, affirming that He was alive, and ministering. I am sure that, just as in most places and some times during His three years of ministry before Crucifixion, the word spread among multitudes, especially the sick, sinners, and the forlorn… to see Him, hear Him, touch His garment. “Jesus is coming!” Advent.

Today, His remnant church knows He will return for us. The New Jerusalem will be established; the devil and his minions will be defeated; and, crossing Beulah Land, we look expectantly to spending eternity with Him around the Throne, evermore singing “Holy, holy, holy.”

“Jesus is coming soon! Maranatha!”

They are all Advents, hallelujah. Here is where I referred to the sorry limitations of understanding and of language. A thousand years is as a moment to God. Jesus came… and He is to come… and He is here, with us. At the same time. The facts of history are real; and the spiritual realities are facts too.

We think of the Babe in the manger, and cannot help but see the Man of the Cross. We learn of prophecy that came before, and cannot help but see the promises ahead. One God, the Three-in-One – food for thought at the Feast of Christ’s Mass next week.

After Christmas, keep those Advent thoughts going. Advent is more than calendars with chocolates behind the little doors. It must be a way of life.

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This is a Gospel traditionally sung to remind believers of the Rapture of the church – Christ returning in the clouds. But it is rock-solid appropriate in this season, too! Recorded in the great lobby of the lodge at Billy Graham’s “Cove” retreat in North Carolina.

Click: Jesus Is Coming Soon

Category: Christmas, Hope, Worship

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About The Author

... Rick Marschall is the author of 74 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia magazine called him "perhaps America's foremost authority on popular culture") to history and criticism; country music; television history; biography; and children's books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals and magazine articles; he was co-author of "The Secret Revealed" with Dr Jim Garlow. His biography of Johann Sebastian Bach for the “Christian Encounters” series (Thomas Nelson) was released in April, 2011. Read More