“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Do you have that wonderful feeling of expectation? Today is the first day of the Advent season. The Advent season is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a season of expectation and anticipation.
The Advent season is not and shouldn’t be confused with the Christmas season which is also a time of expectation and anticipation. The difference between the two seasons is found in what each one focuses on.
The focus of the expectation and anticipation for Christians during the Advent Season is on the coming of King Jesus. It is a time where we remember the greatest gift ever given. It’s a time when we remember and we celebrate the Father giving us His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! It is a time where we focus on our Redeemer!
Contrast that with the focus of the Christmas season, which is also on receiving gifts, but they are not nearly of the kind and quality that the Father has given to us. The joy and the pleasure they bring are fleeting and have no eternal value.
During this season it takes deliberate effort by us to make sure that our focus is where it should always be and that is on the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to help you in that regard by providing you with a daily Scripture reading and some thoughts from my own personal meditations.
Take a moment right now to read Luke 2:21-40
But he wasn’t really worried about death. No he knew he wasn’t about to die because of the promise! Ah, that wonderful promise! That wonderful, hope filled promise that the current condition of his beloved Israel was not always going to be this way. God had promised to send someone who would redeem His people. God’s Holy Spirit had promised him that he wouldn’t die until he had received the promise! But when….The next morning as Simeon was praying something incredible happened the Holy Spirit whispered ever so softly “Its time Simeon”. Simeon wasn’t quite sure what to make of that. As he continued to pray, the Holy Spirit this time with a little more force said “The day has come, the promise has been kept, go to the Temple, the one you’ve been waiting for is there!”Could it be Simeon thought, after all these years after all of my prayers they’ve finally been answered? There was only one way for Simeon to know if the promise was true, there was only one way Simeon could know if his prayers had been answered and that was by obeying what the Holy Spirit had revealed to him and that was by going to the Temple.
The passing years and his declining health had made his daily journey to the Temple difficult, but because of the promise he was determined to get there. This morning the closer he got, the quicker he walked, the quicker he walked greater was the sense of anticipation. Could it be true, could this be the day?
Simeon paused to catch his breath as he finally made it to the top of the Temple stairs. Let me rest just a moment he thought to himself. As he leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, he heard the faint cry of a baby and he smiled, the promise had been kept, his prayers had been answered!
Can you imagine the joy that Simeon must have certainly experienced? For many the Christmas season despite all of the songs is not really a season of peace and joy. The Christmas season leaves many people with any empty feeling because they are looking for joy and peace in all the wrong places. But for the believer our joy is rooted in the knowledge that the Advent season means that God’s promise to His people has been fulfilled. That means that this truly is a season of heavenly joy and unspeakable peace.