Without Advent, Christmas is Just History….
Devotional Thought of the Day:
18 Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the LORD. 19 Tell them the LORD looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven 20 to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die. 21 And so the LORD’s fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem, 22 when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the LORD. Psalm 102:18-22 (NLT)
419 It seems an excellent idea to me that you should tell the Lord often about your great and ardent desire to be a saint, even though you see yourself filled with wretchedness… Tell him, precisely because of this! (1)
This evening, we take up our advent journey, a journey I hope to be one of intense prayer. We are going to look at different prayers in the Bible, where people cried out for the presence of God, Prayers that plead, Come Lord Jesus!
As I was thinking through the service this morning, it became apparent that we need this time of Advent. THe title above declares why. Without Advent, Christmas is a celebration of a historical event. An incredible one for sure, as Eternal God become mortal man, and dwelt among us. As the angels and shepherds sing God’s praises, as the glory of God was experienced in a way that even Abraham and Moses, David and Elijah never experienced.
Immanuel! God with us!
But what needs to be said is that life prior to the incarnation was in desperate need fo that incarnation. THat is what Advent services, the readings, the music, the devotions, should cause us to understand. To see the Incarnation, Christ living amongst us, not just as a historical exercise, but as an answer.
An answer to a prayer uttered in despair. In despair because of evil oppression, in despair because of the darkness of our own sin, in despair because without the presence of God, life is hopeless. An answer to those groaning souls imprisoned by guilt and shame, battered, downcast, broken.
it is the prayer that St. Josemaria encourages us to utter, even in the midst of knowing our own failure. A prayer that acknowledges our desire to live life worthy of Christ’s love, but unable to. It is the prayer cry of despair, depression, submission, and one that is made with the inkling of hope. The hope as we realize what is needed, is promised. The hope that expects the answer deep in our hearts, even while our minds struggle with the possibility of it.
Knowing this despair is answered is the nature of Christmas -advent simply identifies what life is, without God. It brings Christmas’s meaning beyond history into the present, and affects us here… and now. It provides hope for us who are broken.
For Advent shows a pattern to God’s love. It is why it was recorded for us. To know that God looks down. He sees our lives, lived in bondage, He hears our cries, and answers, freeing us, comforting us, cleansing and healing us. Without realizing the desperate need for God’s presence, Christmas just becomes a time of celebrating what happened. With the realizations of Advent, it becomes much more… Christmas becomes a celebration of our hope, because our Lord God is with us.
Knowing this, may our lives be lived in the praises of His people, as we wait again for His coming.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1616-1618). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on December 3, 2014, in Devotions, Poeima, The Forge and tagged Abiding in Christ, Advent, anger, brokenness, cHesed, Christmas, cry for help, Expectation, hope, live, prayer, St. Josemaria Escriva. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.