Items filtered by date: December 2013 - Harris Creek Baptist Church
In Luke 2, Jesus is a newborn baby and is taken to the temple by his parents to be dedicated in accordance with Scripture and Jewish tradition at the time. While they are at the temple, they encounter a man named Simeon. God told Simeon that he would not die before laying eyes on the Messiah God had promised to Israel. As soon as he sees baby Jesus, Simeon recognizes him as the long-awaited Anointed One. Overwhelmed by what was happening, Simeon launches into a Spirit-led proclamation about Jesus. In this declaration, Simeon says that Jesus was going to bring freedom not just for Israel, but for "all people." He takes it even further and says Jesus will be the light that reveals God's message to the Gentile nations. In this proclamation we see that another way we can participate in Advent is by loving all kinds of people, particularly those who are different than us.
Gift giving is one of the most celebrated traditions at Christmas and is one of the biggest social pressures we face in our culture during this time of year. The question for Christ followers is how can we participate in the story of Advent while also being part of our culture? What is obvious is that giving people gifts is not, in and of itself, in conflict with the Gospel. In fact, the goal should be to "give more" during this time of year to those we love. However, it is the kinds of gifts and our approach to gift giving that needs to be reframed. How can we approach this tradition from the perspective God would have us take? In John 1:14, we see that we can participate in the story of Advent by giving more of ourselves relationally to others, as God did for us.
The purpose of the season of Advent is to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. While most Christians would say the goal of every Christmas season is to celebrate the birth of Christ, many of our traditions and habits tend to be counterproductive when it comes to accomplishing this goal. It's safe to say the original story of Christ's coming lacked the fanfare and luxuries of the average Christmas morning in America today. One way we can be a light and actually participate in the story of Advent is by spending less of our resources on ourselves. When we abandon our positions of status to serve those in need, we are joining in the action of Advent and participating in the revolution Jesus started long ago.
Advent is a season traditionally recognized by the Church that celebrates the Incarnation of Jesus. Believers all over the globe set aside time to remember the coming of Christ, God in flesh. One particular way Scripture describes Christ's coming is by saying that Jesus—the light of the World—stepped into darkness. Advent is a time when Christians not only celebrate the light that Jesus brought to this world, but also Advent reminds us to participate by becoming the light we were created to be. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says to his disciples, "You are the light of the world." He goes on to describe what this means by saying our light is to shine through our "good deeds." This Advent, we're going to talk about what it means to participate in Advent by becoming a light. And the first action, if we are to be a light, must be engaging with God by worshipping Him fully.