Our sermon today was a topic that's been on my heart this entire week - really for the past month. Everything down to the scriptures that were used; My heart has been wrestling with and praying through each one of them.
I've written a lot about the different emotions I've felt over the past six years, and even more about what I've felt over the past year. I knew the Holiday Season would be difficult, but I couldn't gauge just what I would feel. On Thanksgiving Day it hit me. I was mad. I was so mad that every time I thought about how much had changed in a year I had to go to the bathroom to cry. It was a mad, angry cry and it didn't go away once Thanksgiving was over. I'm still mad - mad at the destruction of sin. How devastating its effects. It is a new stage of grief I'm working through. And it is one I honestly never thought I would enter.
Thankfully, it doesn't stop with me just being mad and crying about it. Like our pastor said today during the sermon, we, as Christians, know and anticipate the end of the Story. One of my favorite descriptions of the coming reconciliation is found in Revelation 21.
So as Christmas draws near, once again, I find myself reflecting more and more about the sacrifice that God made to send his Son to save us from the sin of the world. A pastor in NY said something in a Twitter update this week that really struck me. He said, "The first advent (or coming) brought relief of our sins. The second advent will bring relief from our sufferings. Come, Lord Jesus."
In his book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer talks about "The supreme mystery". It is that "mystery" that further assures us that in a world full of sin and pain He came. And one day He will come again.
“The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man– that the second person of the Godhead became the ’second man’ (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human…
It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.
And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.”
–J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 53.
*Click HERE to listen to the sermon "The Hope of Advent" by Beau Hughes.