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Advent and Apocalypse

Maybe it is because we are studying Revelation, maybe I’m inspired by Max Lucado’s unique Christmas story—Cosmic Christmas, maybe it’s the alliteration, but I just can’t get away from offering a four-part series on Advent and the Apocalypse. 

As Advent comes again bringing forth a new Church Year, I am busting out from my traditional focus on Hope, Love, Joy and Peace into the spectacular reality that makes it all happen on earth. What was happening in heaven while Joseph and Mary were making their ordinary, dusty, earth-bound, one hundred-mile journey? These were stellar events set in the context of a young peasant mom facing a crisis pregnancy, government regulations that did not excuse women who were great with child,or dirty, dusty roads and over-crowded inns. The manger scene filled with motley group of shepherds conceals the grandiosity of how first coming of Christ (though contained in newborn baby form) set off a complete transformation of the heavens and the earth. The earth and all it galaxies, including the heavens, was amended.

Though heavenly beings were the first to utter the news of Jesus’ entry to the world, it’s easy for us humans to become wooed by the thought of a newborn baby and the joy a new life emotes.  

If you have never read Max Lucado’s Christmas story, Cosmic Christmas, I highly recommend it. In the story he imagines the cosmic battles that were fought just to bring about the quaint manger scene of Christmas.  It involves the activity of angels and demons on a much grander scale than Luke’s gospel mentions. He bases his story on the interpretation of Revelation 12:13 which references the expulsion of the devil from heaven with the birth of Christ.  “When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.”  

Indeed, cosmic adventures happened involving placements a of a star that appeared and disappeared as ordered by its Creator. Angels startled humans on three occasions. First was the announcement of John the Baptist in the Temple to a devout priest. Second time was to a peasant bride-to-be in a small village. Dreams of angels were recorded. Perhaps the most celestial of all was when first one angel, then a choir of angels who appeared to the shepherds outside Bethlehem the night of Jesus’ birth. 

This super-planetary event extends far beyond any galaxies that we could know or even comprehend. John’ gospel describes the other side of the manger scene in human terms when he wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5, 14).

Suffice it to say that the birth of Jesus Christ was no ordinary event.  It was a spiritual outbreak of galactical proportions.  Advent’s candles are a countdown to the birth of Christ.  The spiritual disciplines of waiting, watching, repenting and preparing are the focus.  As you light the first candle of advent this year, stop and imagine what it meant for God to contain Himself in the molecular structure of the human body He had created.  Consider the fact that the birth of Christ was the apocalypse of damnation, the apocalypse of the world that had been doomed to destruction since the sin of Adam and Eve.  The birth of Jesus Christ was a spiritual revelation that contained the power to destroy the reign of sin and death.  Advent brought on the apocalypse of a sin-doomed world.


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