Advent draws our thoughts towards the beyond —— Good News that God shared with the world over 2000 years ago. God’s news spread throughout the whole world and continues to encircle the globe. This news began broadcasting long before our modern media communication tools. Similar to the way the good news spread in the vicinity of Bethlehem on the eve of His birth, this particular news has best been shared through word of mouth from individuals whose lives have been personally transformed after encountering Jesus. After the angels, sent from heaven, startled the shepherds by announcing the birth of Jesus, the people of God have taken it from there. The church can’t stop sharing the reality of what it means that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to our world to be one of us. He did this so that God could restore any who will put faith in Jesus Christ to become one with Him.
As we prepare to gather in crowded churches on Christmas Eve, let us consider how we have become proclaimers of this Good News. How do we experience God with us, and how does that impact the news we discuss? Do we digest the police shootings, riots, protests, unrest in this world in light of the Good News? Does the fact that God is with us make any difference in our personal response?
God is with me. He entered this fallen world. He told me that a day is coming when He will make all things new. This is a promise. It is His promise to keep. Just as He kept His promise to send the Messiah, He will keep this promise. In the in-between, He has sent me Good News. The Good News He sent was that in the meanwhile — from the time He sent His Son and after He died and rose again to cover the sins of the whole world to the time that His Son returns to make the world right again — He wants me to spread the Good News.
Advent Season returns my focus to the First and Second coming of Christ. During the four Sundays before Christmas, the church calls me to prepare my heart through repentance and anticipation. Christmas marks the point in time when we celebrate the unimaginable promise of God fulfilled in the unexpected way — He, God, became one of us so that we can become one with Him. The way that I become one with Him is through repentance and recognition of my utter inability to be holy. God tells me that my faith in His Son’s righteousness will bring me holiness that has the potential for oneness with God. When Christ comes again, my holiness will become a true reality, but in between He gives me the power to experience tastes of holiness through the Holy Spirit who lives in me.
Immanuel, God with us, and salvation, us with God, are the too-good-to-be-true Good News that gives hope because most other news stings of bombing, murder, heartache and destruction. The Good News of Advent and Christmas is best shared from household by household, by changed life to changed life. God sent Jesus to be one of us so that we can become one with Him. God sends all who are one with Him to demonstrate the salvation He longs to share with the whole world. As Peter explains:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
He also instructs how we can best broadcast the Good News until the day He comes to earth the second time:
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12).
I get to light the first candle of Advent this year with my first granddaughter born on the first day of Advent. My great hope for her is to find out about the day that this too-good-to be-true Good News becomes transformational for her! And I’m going to love every day of the in-between!