Dear GCI Family and Friends,
Why is Advent so important? Because the coming of Jesus is important.
More than 2,000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed a young lady named Mary, Father God’s timing was perfect to send his only begotten Son into the world. The 40+ Old Testament prophecies pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah and the setting of the stage. The messaging had been so well laid out that the jealous King Herod was aware, and even wise men (Magi) from the east came to honor this newborn king.
Unfortunately, most of Israel missed the coming of the Messiah and the significance. They were pre-occupied by their religious traditions, steeped in their works and personal righteousness, and under the heavy-handed rule and occupation of the Romans. Their only perceived need of deliverance was from the tyranny of Rome. They were looking for a warring hero king to raise a sword against Rome, not a rabbi who would challenge them over their religion and willingly subject himself to death on a Roman cross.
We are highly blessed and favored to live on the other side of the cross. We get to see how radical and life-changing the plan of God really is. We get to see how the Messiah wasn’t about conquering armies and nations— he was about conquering sin and death. Instead of raising a sword against the perceived enemy, he went to the cross and died in their place so that they too can have a place in his eternal kingdom. King Jesus is about forgiveness, redemption, and love for all his created children.
Why do we need four weeks of celebration and symbolism leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth? If you are like me, I can get easily distracted and skim through life. The things that really matter, and the things that have substance deserve our full attention and our lingering. As an example, I just returned from my youngest son’s wedding. Instead of this being an afternoon ceremony, making a toast, eating cake, and going home, it was a four-day event with scattered activities from going to the courthouse to get a license, the two merging families having time together, hanging out with the bridal party, an extended rehearsal brunch, an entire day of the groomsmen and bridesmaids being with the bride and groom leading up to the ceremony, to a dinner and dance for the ages. It was more like a wedding feast that we read about in the New Testament. Events worth celebrating warrant the dedication of time, attention and our full undivided presence. Advent, with its emphasis on hope, peace, joy and love all culminating in the person of Jesus is a season to immerse our time, thoughts and energy.
The coming of Jesus is important – in fact, there is nothing more important than Jesus coming into your life and into the life of our church. Let’s not make the mistakes of the Jewish nation some 2,000 years ago and allow the noise, difficulties, and tyranny of the present age to become so loud and real that we miss seeing Jesus. Let’s not miss seeing that he is our hope, peace, and joy and that it is his love that changes everything – redeeming oppressed and oppressor alike.
I invite our Hope Avenue champions and teams to access the preparation materials that are provided through Equipper to make this Advent season an event of events and a celebration where all worshippers who gather with us will know, and know that they know, that Jesus has come!