Celebrating Advent to prepare for Christ’s return

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By Brian Owens

Pastor and Chaplain Harold Dinsmore wrote, “Our Lord Jesus coming to earth was a history-changing, life-changing event. Had he not come on that night long ago as a babe in the manger, we would not have had the man Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. The reality of Advent never changes.”
Most of us identify the “reality” of the Christmas season with traditional decorations and celebrations, and a sparkling tree with colored lights with mounds of brightly wrapped gifts beneath its branches.
We must not forget that the true wonder and magic of Christmas lies not in the gift-wrapped goodies but in God’s sending his son to Earth because the human race needed a savior.
The birth of Christ was not God’s great “surprise” event in history; it was carefully, lovingly planned before the beginning of the world.
At certain times in human history, God allowed hints of this promised event to be heard. Some 600 years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah prophesied in the southern kingdom of Judah, to a people who were being threatened with invasion by the Assyrian Empire.
Isaiah tells them that though this is a judgment that must come from God, he will also prove himself faithful and show them undeserved race. Among the words spoken by the prophet, is a promise of the coming Messiah: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). These are the titles of deity. He is the epitome of wisdom, strength, comfort and peace.
As Calvin penned, these titles “confirm us more and more in the faith of Christ, and fortify us against Satan and against hell itself.”
Isaiah is speaking of the Messianic hope who will come to establish his kingdom not just in Israel but beyond among the Gentiles as well. God’s promise is that his kingdom will continue to expand and each moment will be better than the last, as he calls people from every tribe, tongue and nation to know him and submit to his kingly authority.  
We are about to celebrate this king who has come and will come again. We celebrate the first Advent of Christ, but there is a second Advent soon to come.
But when he comes again he will not come as a helpless babe in a manger, nor will he come to die on a cross. He will, however, come again as the risen king of kings and lord of lords.
When he comes there will be no Christmas carols to be sung, but the sound of the trumpet and the host of heaven will proclaim his majesty. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). Jesus Christ is the greatest gift given, the gift of God himself. It is my prayer that you receive this gift for yourself this Advent season.

Brian Owens is an associate pastor with youth and children emphasis at Farmdale Baptist Church. He can be reached via e-mail at brian@farmdalebaptist.com.