Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Tis The Season

I absolutely love this time of year. Fall is transitioning into winter and the holiday season heading into the stretch run with Christmas and New Years on the horizon. Christmas music is playing and those special smells from baked goods and candles are special treats.

It is during this time of year that I like to reflect on the past year and celebrate with the liturgical churches the beginning of a new year. This Sunday marks the start of the new liturgical year, the Advent season. Advent is Latin for coming. To me it is the four week lead time that culminates in our celebration of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus.  But it also is a time to reflect on the promise of His  Second Coming to planet earth. 

There is a fair amount of discussion as to whether Jesus will come to rapture (snatch it away) His church before the final seven years of destruction and wrath God has promised before He touches down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem or whether He comes for the church midway through or takes the church after it. My own views are that he comes for the church before but it is not faith deal-breaker if it doesn't occur the way I think it should. All I know is that he is coming back. The signs are there.

What I do enjoy is reading through the book of Isaiah during this time and seeing all that God promised to us through this Savior who was to be born as a child and yet would reign as King over all the earth. He promised to free us from sin and death, heal us of all our sin and diseases and to be His special people. He also promised to come back as an avenger of His people to those who abused them and to reign in righteousness from Jerusalem.  God's word has been absolutely accurate in all prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus so there is no reason to doubt the prophecies referring to His second coming will not also be literally fulfilled.

I wish my own church included the celebration of the Advent season and taught of it's meaning. It does not like many non-denominational/interdenominational/non-liturgical churches. There is a connection to the past and the future I think we miss as a result. Now, I attend a great church. The worship, teaching and service to the community are first rate, but it is times such as this I miss the basic simplicity of celebrating a new liturgical year with all its trappings, sounds and smells. The advent wreath comes to mind with its three purple and and rose candle and  the significance those colors mean. It is  something I'll try to implement again into my own home.

This time of year is so busy with stringing up house lights, decorations, shopping and musical specials, that the real significance of the season seems to get lost.  That significance is that Jesus has come and is coming again.

Do you know Him?  The Bible says we can. Romans says the following:

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved, for with the heart one believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the scripture says 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame'. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord  over all is rich to all who call upon Him." (Romans 10:9-11 NKVJ)

In Ephesians Paul writes:

For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God beforehand prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV).

Prepare yourself for the ultimate Christmas gift this Advent season. Know that God loves you and cares for you and wants to live within you  so that you can truly love and care for others.

 Invite Jesus into your heart.

God bless.