Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Adventing Christ

Those who know what Advent is know that it’s the season of the Church Year that begins the Church Year (it begins tomorrow). It is the time of preparation for our celebration of Christmas—Christ’s first advent, or coming.

At Bethlehem Christ ‘advented’, He came to earth to save us from our sins. He promised to return—that is what we call His Second Advent, which will be the Last Day. Christ has come and He will come again to take His people home to heaven.

But He doesn’t stay away while we wait. He continues to advent. He comes to us often because we need a Savior who continually helps us.

Christ first came physically, He was born a baby. He will return on the Last Day physically, in the same way He ascended into heaven. Until that day He continues to come to us physically through the means by which the Holy Spirit delivers to us forgiveness and salvation.

We tend to think of the Gospel in terms of words that we hear or read and intellectually understand. But the preached Gospel is actually an event God uses to bring Christ to us. He is the Word made flesh. The Holy Spirit brought Christ to the world as a baby through the womb of Mary. He brings Christ into our hearts and minds through the Gospel.

He comes to us in another physical way in Baptism. The language the Scriptures use to describe how Christ comes to us in Baptism show us a God who doesn’t leave us out in the cold. “We are clothed with Christ.” The very spiritual garment we wear is Christ Himself. He covers our sins with the robe of His righteousness. And He comes to us to do this, not from afar.

Probably the most familiar way to us that Christ continues to “advent” is in His Holy Supper. He gives to us His body and His blood. Just as He came at Bethlehem in the little body of a baby, just as He will return in the full grown body of a man, and just as He gave His body on the cross and suffered His blood to be shed, so in this amazing advent at the altar in church He gives His body and blood for us to eat and drink.

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the God who not only came at Bethlehem and who will come again, but is the God who continues to advent to us. We never need to wonder if He’ll be around. He keeps coming to us. He keeps forgiving us and strengthening us. He is the adventing Christ, the one who never leaves us or forsakes us. He is the Christ who has come, will come again, and who continually comes to us. That’s really what we celebrate at Christmas. And forever.

No comments: