Sunday, December 4, 2016
Luke 1:35 "And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her."
Today's post will offer some thoughts on the meaning and significance of the second Sunday of this Advent Season. Today of course is the Second Sunday of Advent. The goal for this month is to offer posts that will reflect on all the particular Sundays found in the Christian celebration of Advent. For the reader's reference, the first Sunday of Advent (which was last week) had a post featuring it and is found at the following link:
Advent is the season of hope and faith
At the church which I pastor, we will be lighting the second advent candle at the beginning of our morning church service. For our church at least, the second candle will represent "faith". Faith fits very well in one of Advent's overall purposes in the Christian calendar: namely kindling expectation and excitement about the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
In the opening verse of today's post, we find Mary receiving the news from the angel regarding her being the vessel through which the Son's humanity would be conceived. She received the news and all of its implications by faith. Mary was clearly a woman of faith. Her heart was already reconciled to God in a faith that at some point had been touched by grace (see Luke 1:30). Not only did Mary evidence outward devotion, but inward trust.
True saving faith anticipates what Jesus has done, is doing and will do. In Advent Season, Christians celebrate their "Faith". Faith in the Bible takes on at least three meanings. First, "faith" can mean one's subjective trust in God's promises, Word and Person. Second, "Faith", or what we could call "capital 'F' Faith, refers to those body of doctrines and truth that, revealed by God in the scripture have been handed down through every generation of the church. The third sense of faith has to do with where our faith is directed and embodied: Christ Himself. Christ is described for example in Hebrews 12:2 as "The Author and Finisher of faith".
When we consider all that Advent season represents, all three of these senses are present - however, the third sense in particular is the focus. By finding Christian faith embodied in Christ and explained in the scriptures and precious truths of it, our personal faith is rooted in Jesus and formed by the text of scripture.
When the Advent candles are lit, the light they shine, though small, illuminates the eye of everyone in the room. The light of Advent illustrates faith. How? Faith is the flame from on high that kindles the small wick of the human heart. When the life and ministry of Jesus is brought to bear in our lives, we embrace it. Even in the shortening days of Advent season, Winter's chill and darkening skies cannot quench the flame of faith. Christ in the believer is light and life, shining in this dark world.
As we carry forth into this Advent season, may we celebrate the fact that the Eternal Son came as God incarnated as a helpless infant. His mother received the news by faith. May we receive and embrace Him in faith. May Advent be as a breath of fresh air in what can be a season of business. May faith flourish as Christ as magnified, emphasized and focused upon in this season.