Hearing the Music

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in Advent

That the World May Know

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While this Christmas Season has had a few less shopping/getting ready/cram-it-all-in days than usual, I find myself more taken, more excited, more anticipatory than normal. Perhaps it has been the focus on Glory and the opportunity to remember that in a world of impeachment, of suffering, of wars, of so much banality; there is something that is truly transcendent!  And the glory of the Lord shone around them ...

Perhaps it is the thought for this Sunday that is capturing my heart. This Sunday we will allow our hearts to be pricked with the idea that this Glory has been shared with us, that we may live it out that the world may know the One who was sent by the Father: The glory that you have given me (Jesus) I have given to them (disciples/us), that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:22–23).

Or maybe it is this overwhelmingly wondrous truth that we will be savoring Christmas Eve, namely, that because Jesus came as the Savior of the world we are promised an entrance into the eternal Glory forever. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, [25] to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 24–25).

Friends, the glory, majesty, dominion and authority of the Peasant King born in a stable truly transforms our world and brings color to our view of it. May your hearts be full and may the joy of the Lord be your strength!

in Advent

Let's Party

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’Tis the season of the Christmas party. We have parties at the office, parties in the neighborhood, parties with close family, and parties with extended family. Parties that we are glad to go to, as well as a few that feel like a chore. Why so many parties? From a secular perspective it is about the here and now, a festal time to pause our work rhythms and celebrate a little. From a Christian perspective, we know what we are celebrating. We celebrate the greatest gift ever given. Christ has taken on flesh to dwell among us, and to redeem a people for Himself!

One thing I try to remember in this party season is that every party is a precursor to the party that is prepared for us by our God and Savior.  Listen to what God says through the prophet Isaiah: On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." (Isaiah 25:6–9)

As children of God, all of our Christmas parties are a reminder that we are headed for the greatest party ever thrown! There will be no sadness or tension. We will all be delighted to be there and delighted with one another! The food and libations will be like none we have ever experienced. And all this because the Lamb will be in our midst, He will be the life of the party! We will be caught up in His Glory!

This week we will look at John 2 and John 11 as we contemplate what it means that Glory is unleashed in the person of Jesus. We will be drawn in to the power of Glory and what it means for the story that we are in. And while it may be true that our parties are like an acorn compared to the oak of The Party to come, may our senses explode with the fullness of a life in Christ! "This is the LORD; we (are waiting) for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

in Advent

Waiting and Watching

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It is a quick turnaround this year from clearing the Thanksgiving plates to hanging the Advent calendars. As we think about Advent and all that goes with it, it is good to remind ourselves of where we are in The Story. I like this description from my friends at the Daily Prayer Project:

Advent is the first season of the Christian year. It is the season that waits and watches for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, the Son who will descend from heaven (1 Thess 1:10). As another year arrives and we begin to tell The Story of Jesus and the church over again we start at the end. The word Advent comes from the Latin Adventist which means a “coming” or “visitation”. During the season, the church longs and waits for the end of The Story while living in the dramatic and painful tension of the present, the “already and not yet”. This waiting frames our experience in this preparatory, somber, penitential, and joyful season before the great and luminous celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany. Over these four weeks of Advent we slowly move from darkness to light. This season is also one in which we read and remember Israel's time of waiting before the first coming of the Messiah, when Habakkuk cried out “O Lord how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (Hab. 1:2) and Zephaniah proclaimed “the great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast,” (Zeph 1:14).

We, as God's people, know where the story is going - “all things new” (Rev. 21:5) - and so we acutely know how unfinished it really is. Therefore, we look and love into a world with holy impatience, wanting our hearts to mirror the King’s and longing for the earth to mirror his Kingdom. “Come Lord Jesus.” This is the heart of Advent.   

As we wait and watch we will be looking through the lens of Glory. "Glory to God in the highest" is what the angels proclaimed as they announced the incarnation to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). We will start here this first Sunday in Advent as we journey together toward the light of His Glory!

 

Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash

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