Advent – December 30, 2015


First Advent – Matthew 1:18–23 (ESV)  18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Second Advent – Zechariah 14:4–9 (ESV)  On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.  And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

Jesus’ birth would turn the lives of a young couple upside down.  He rocked their world. It was a test of their faith to join the plans of God.  The next time he comes he will split a mountain in two.  He will arrive, not in the quietness of a cool desert night.  He will come with a multitude and unapproachable light.  He will come, not to test faith, but to reward it and fulfill all it hopes for.  We live between these two comings.

Prayer – O Lord, my God!  This day I praise your holy name.  Your coming always tests my faith.  You disrupt my world in order to transform it.  You call me to follow at the expense of the very life I want to keep for myself.  Give me the faith to answer “yes” to you.  And remind me that one day you will arrive in power and glory.  Transformation will be complete in all the world.  Toward that day I live and hope, for your glory.  In Christ’s name, Amen.