As I slipped into my seat in the pew this morning while a Christmas carol played, I was struck by the beauty of this familiar sanctuary, now dressed up for Advent, in preparation for the coming of the Christ child. Every day is an adventful day in this month of December and today is no exception. During this morning’s church service we participated in the Lord’s Supper or Communion – truly an act of Advent if ever there was one.
When Jesus ate the last supper with His disciples, He instructed them saying as He broke the bread,
” ‘Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins; this do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lords’ death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26 & Matthew 26:27-28)
Receiving the Lord’s Supper is both the act of remembering and acknowledging the Notable event of Christ’s death on the cross and of looking forward to the fulfillment of His promise to return one day to earth. I am doing both things simultaneously, every time I participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – remembering and looking forward. This is just as true with the Advent of Christmas. I am remembering and celebrating the past event of Christ’s birth all the while looking forward to and preparing for the Notable event yet to come – His return.
That will be one unforgettable event – Jesus’s return to earth. Preparations for this event have been ongoing for centuries. That might seem a bit improbable until you consider what needs to be done in order to be ready for this event. Isaiah 40:3-5 describes some of the preparations that need to take place-
“A voice of one calling in the desert: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ ”
Every valley raised up? every mountain and hill made low? a highway through the wilderness? Preparation for the Advent yet to come is definitely pretty labor intensive. (sounds like a lot of infrastructure work, doesn’t it?) Nevertheless, ongoing preparations are always taking place. God’s creation is preparing for His return and we as His people should join in that effort.
“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. . . . We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:19, 22-23)
That day is coming. We are currently in a season of Advent preparing for that day – maybe by moving mountains with our prayers or by smoothing rough places in order that other sojourners might find their way to Christ more easily, or by building bridges to provide safe passage over chasms of division among peoples God loves, or by untangling lies in the wilderness, allowing Truth to make straight highways through the deserts of deception to the Creator of us all.
And on that day a Notable event will take place, described here in these words –
“Therefore God exalted Him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
thank You, Heavenly Father, for another adventful day in this season of Advent,
sincerely, Grace Day