Today’s advent post is by Scott James, an elder at The Church at Brook Hills and the author of the advent devotional, The Expected One. Scott serves in the children and youth ministries at Brook Hills and is passionate about helping families grow together in Christ.
For many people, the weeks leading up to Christmas serve as a rich time of spiritual reflection. The glorious truth of Jesus’ first advent—or coming—is certainly a worthy subject to meditate upon, especially during this time of year. In keeping with the spirit of the season, a common tendency is to focus our devotions exclusively on the nativity scene. But the incarnation is not intended to be viewed with tunnel vision. The glory of the nativity shines brightest when it is held within the larger context of redemptive history.
As we allow the whole counsel of Scripture to guide our devotional thoughts during the Advent season, we see that this holistic view of the incarnation is exactly what God communicated to his people from the beginning. Every Christmas, those excellent Old Testament prophecies pointing directly to the birth of Jesus are highlighted and celebrated (and rightly so!), but if we look further we’ll also see that God’s promises concerning his son were much more extensive:
“God didn’t just promise His people that a miracle child would be born. He also promised that this Child would grow up to be the loving Shepherd of His people, the place-switching Sacrifice, the resurrected Lord, and the righteous King who reigns in glory forever.”
The Old Testament is full of signs, types, shadows, and outright proclamations that come together to paint a multi-faceted picture of the person and work of Christ. By celebrating his birth in conjunction with these wonderful truths, we will appreciate it all the more. On the other hand, if we compartmentalize the truth of the incarnation we will actually diminish its brilliance. The nativity is best celebrated when found in the shadow of the cross. [Click to tweet!]
This Christmas, may your time in the Word lead you to dwell richly on the many promises that God gave concerning his son, the Messiah. By keeping the larger scope of Christ’s redemptive work in mind, you’ll find your heart better prepared to celebrate his miraculous birth for all that it’s worth.
Ultimately, the anticipation that is so readily brought to the surface during Advent reminds us that we are not merely concerned with redemptive history; we also eagerly await a redemptive future:
“There is yet another promise: this King is coming back for His people! As we celebrate the first coming of the Expected One during Advent, let’s also look forward in hopeful anticipation of His second coming. Let’s keep in mind the whole picture of who Jesus is, worshiping Him as the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to us, ‘For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him’ (2 Cor. 1:20).”
Italicized portions excerpted from The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent by Scott James (B&H Publishing Group, 2014)
Today’s advent post is by Scott James, an elder at The Church at Brook Hills and the author of the advent devotional, The Expected One. Scott serves in the children and youth ministries at Brook Hills and is passionate about helping families grow together in Christ. For many people, the weeks leading up to Christmas serve […]