Contributing Faith Writer
Why do Christians celebrate Advent? For those who have not grown up in the church, or maybe even for those who did, advent may be something that you have done or heard about but do not really understand why it is tradition. What exactly is the purpose of advent?
These are valid questions and ones I find myself asking this season. If Covid affected anything in my life it was traditions. Suddenly in 2020, I found myself reevaluating why we have certain traditions and how important they really are to me.
I realized just how important annual things are to me such as holidays or birthday celebrations, as well as the simpler things that I took for granted each week like worship with other Christians.
Once these things were taken away, I recognized the value of such things. It was especially evident in my life when faced with all the uncertainties of graduation from high school and the transition into college.
It was in this that I realized the plans for my life were not as set in stone as I had once assumed. It was during such a time when I realized just how bleak our world seemed.
I realized just how important the birth of my Savior was. On that day, hope had entered our world and the events that followed changed the trajectory of humanity for eternity.
Scott Jones, Elder at Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama and author of many family and children’s stories, says this of Advent, “Rooted in a tradition that spans centuries of church history, the modern version of the Advent calendar has been around since the nineteenth century. Emerging from a Protestant Christian context, Advent calendars carry an underlying spiritual message of anticipation and hope. By helping us remember and reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ…”.
He goes on to say that it is part of the liturgical year that Christians have observed for over 1500 years and is meant to be the time in which we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
Therefore, we can start to understand the purpose of advent. We can understand that this is important for Christians to take part in. What does Advent do for us though?
Well, according to John Piper in his podcast titled Good News of Great Joy regarding advent season says, “Christmas is about the Creator of the universe, who is not himself part of the universe, coming himself, in the person of his Son, into the world that he made”.
Piper goes on to say that this is so astonishing because He came to save a people that were in “active rebellion against him”.
Stop for one second and think about this fact. I can honestly say that if there is a person that ridicules me, curses my name, or even just completely ignores my very existence, I cannot say that I would actively seek to put myself in harm’s way to save them.
I can name a few people that I may put myself in danger to save, and that list is very small. Every person on my list cares about me deeply and, in turn, I care about them.
But for those who do not care about me at all. I do not think that I would actively seek them out, especially if they were making decisions that would further get themselves into a bad situation.
In my selfishness, I would say that they deserve it. And the reality is that God had every right to say this very thing to us. We saw it in the story of Noah, in Genesis 6 through 9. God hates sin so much that He went to drastic measures to deal with sinful people.
Over and over in the book of Judges, we see God send leaders who are meant to save people who rebelled against Him. God’s people would then cry out to Him, then go right back to their sin.
Throughout all of the Old Testament, we see God’s faithfulness to a faithless people. We also see a promise throughout the Old Testament. This promise is one that goes all the way back to Genesis 15 when God made a covenant with Abraham, and even further than that in Genesis 3:15.
God has always planned to save His people, the very ones who curse His name or neglect to recognize who He is. This is amazing. From the very beginning of time, God knew that His creation would not be strong enough to remain pure, and in His holiness and just power, He could not let sin go unpunished.
So, throughout the scriptures, God points us to this one event that will change everything forever. He simply cannot wait, but in countless stories, He points us to the ultimate culmination of His power, mercy, and righteousness.
In His loving kindness, He sends us the Son, the one who came to show us what heaven looks like. The one who came to show us what obedience to the Father is. It was at the moment of this person’s birth, the one who is fully God and yet fully man, it was at the event of His birth that at last, the hope of the world has come. Rejoice all people for our hope has come!