For the season of Advent, I’m going to try to share several devotional thoughts over the course of the next few weeks.
Advent is First an Indictment
The word Advent comes from the Latin: Adventus Dominum – “the coming of God”. It is a time when we focus on how God came into our world in the person of Jesus Christ.
My favorite place to begin in the story of Jesus is the first chapter of the Gospel of John. John’s Gospel is different than the others in that John begins his account of Jesus BEFORE Christmas – in eternity past.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
However, where John is similar to the other Gospel writers is that before he talks about Jesus, he talks about John the Baptist (or “J the B” as I like to call him).
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. (John 1:6-8)
Why is John the Baptist an important part of the Advent story? Because the first important thing to know about Christmas is that Advent is an indictment before it is a joy. The very fact that God had to come into this world to save us, shows what dire straights we are in.
J the B came to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming of the Savior. And how did he do it? By calling people to confess their utter sinfulness, and acknowledge their desperate need for a salvation which they were unable to attain for themselves.
We cannot fully appreciate the joy of Christmas until we first come to terms with WHY Jesus had to come: because we all desperately need a Savior and our plight is so serious that none other than God Himself would be capable of meeting that need.
The hard fact is that Advent is an indictment: that your condition is so dire that GOD had to die for you, in order to save you.
The Good News of Advent is that God was glad to die for you, in order to save you.