In the Church, we are about to enter the season of advent and it occurred to me maybe some are not exactly sure what that means. Here is an excerpt from the UMC.org what is advent page: (The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.] During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.) As you can see from the above Advent is a time when we look towards the coming of Christ, his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world, even as we remember his first coming in the manger in Bethlehem. The question in my mind at least, becomes how do we anticipate his coming? How do we best respond to the truth that he is indeed coming, and by all indications soon? One example we have is that of the wise men. Matt 2:9-11 9When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Three quick things come to mind in the example of the wise men that perhaps we would be wise to follow.
- When they became aware of the coming of the King they made preparations and followed the star that led them to the place of his birth and into his presence. The star was the light, the guide that they followed to lead them to the King. We don’t have a star to follow but we do have the Holy Spirit and its leading. I know we are aware of the Kings imminent return but as “wise” men and women are we making preparations now for his return? Have we put aside the things of this world to faithfully follow where the Holy Spirit leads us?
- Scripture tells us that “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy”. This was the attitude with which they traveled towards their meeting the King. This should also be our attitude as we journey towards our meeting the King. Far too often we begrudge the journey and our attitude is less than “exceedingly great joy” while we are going along the way. Rejoice! This is the day that the Lord has made! This is the journey he has laid out for us. This is the path of service he desires us to follow. Matt 25:21 “His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord.” The Journey is not a wasted time, it is everything. It is what draws us nearer. It is the path of our growth. It is our fellowship with the Lord. It is the joy of our Lord and he has invited us to share it with him!
- Last the wise men brought their treasures to him, gifts to give him. As wise Christ followers we should be “laying up our treasures in heaven” and bringing with us gifts to give to the king. Adrian Rodgers writes – “What will you give Jesus this Christmas? Your wealth? All that we have belongs to Him. Your worship? Fall on your face before Him. Your witness? I want the world to know that He died for me. Do you? My wealth, my worship, and my witness belongs to my Lord. And so does yours.” see (gifts-of-the-wise-men-and-our-gifts-to-jesus)