Christmastime is here, and this year on Penprints I’ll be going through some advent (of a kind—nothing here on Penprints is exactly traditional, and advent will be no exception).
English takes advent from the Latin word adventus which means “a coming”. For Christians at Christmastime, that means a coming of Christ–specifically, His first coming as a baby. As lent is meant to prepare our hearts to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of the Jesus at Easter, advent readies us to reflect on and celebrate His birth.
The advent of Christ has been foretold since the protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15, right after sin and death entered the world. Throughout the entire Old Testament there are prophecies about Jesus’ first and second comings, and for advent today, I’m thinking about the all the O.T. prophets who heard from God.
You are a prophet. You have been called by God, by Yahweh.
Propheting (that is definitely a word) is a rather lonely business. Your parents, siblings, and friends will reject you, and if you get married, it’s possible (probable, even) that your wife and kids will be an object lesson for Israel. Speaking of Israel, as a prophet it’s your job to communicate the words of Yahweh to His people who have been known to throw prophets in wells. And since, in general, people (including the Israelites) don’t respond well to what Yahweh has to say, they typically don’t like you either since you’re His spokesman. So, propheting is lonely.
But Yahweh speaks to you. Audibly and in dreams and visions. And He’s told you to write down what He says. The longer you serve Him, hear His voice, see His mighty hand, and write down His words, the more you begin to see the world like He does.
When Israel goes after another “god” again, you weep.
When Yahweh tells you He’s raising up a nation to enslave Israel, you understand why.
And when Yahweh says that a Son of David is coming, a Lamb, One who will bear the iniquity of all, you think your heart will burst from the excitement, and you write it down. Yahweh doesn’t say when, but the more He tells you of this Prince of peace, this Root of Jesse, the more you can’t wait for Him to come.
There’s a lot about His plan that you don’t understand, but it’s Yahweh. His thoughts aren’t your thoughts, and you have complete confidence in the Holy One of Israel. Years slip by. You see many of Yahweh’s words unfold as events. And you continue to serve Him. When He speaks, you listen. He tells you many more things which you dutifully write down and tell whoever you’ve been commanded to tell.
But you haven’t seen the Son of the Most High yet.
You wonder when He’ll come. You wait for Him. You know that when He does come, Israel will wander and weep no more and Zion will rejoice.
And as you get older, you realize that some of what Yahweh has told you won’t come to pass in your lifetime. You know that Yahweh may tell many other prophets about this Emmanuel before He actually comes. And as your life comes to its end and you look back, you see all the ways that Yahweh is faithful. He never breaks His promises. You cling to Yahweh and His promises, and you know that your life and all your hope in the promised Messiah have not been in vain.
The Mighty God is coming, and when He arrives, He’ll set everything right. You hope He comes soon.
The prophets waited in hope and expectation for the coming Messiah, and we are to follow their example. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we must also remember that He is returning.
This week, I encourage you to study and reflect on all the hope that Jesus has fulfilled—in the centuries of prophecies and in your own life.
Some passages to look at are: Genesis 3:15, Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:2-7, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Micah 5:2-4 (note: this list is not exhaustive by any means; these are just some of my personal favorites).
Let’s put a holly covered bookend on this post.
I hope that this has been helpful for you as you begin advent; it was certainly interesting to write.