ADVENT is the celebration of Jesus' first coming to earth. Over the next month, we will pause each Sunday, the Lord's Day, and share a few Scriptures declaring the blessings of Jesus' first coming and enjoying a video from James Nored that helps us dig deeper into the significance of our Lord's incarnation in human flesh as God among us, Immanuel.
Jesus' ADVENT was proclaimed as a glorious shift from the abusive powers of earthly kings and Kingdoms to the gracious and redemptive Kingdom of God and the Son of his love!
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:4-20).
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).
Those in power, those stuck in religious darkness and prejudice, did not receive him. Though from Bethlehem originally, Joseph and Mary's own families made no room for them or the Christ child to be born. Lowly shepherds welcomed him, and angels sang songs glorifying God. Herod, the tyrant Jewish king, recognized the threat to his power and his place in Rome's kingdom, so he tried to kill God's newborn king, committing infanticide against the children near Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-18). This simple birth was the center of God's war against Satan, demons, death, and hell (Revelation 12:1-17). However, once Jesus was born, God's Kingdom and the new day of full redemption were dawning. God, the Mighty One, was working to bring his Kingdom through Jesus' work on earth:
[God's] mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors (Luke 1:50-55).
While we wait for the complete shift that is promised in Jesus' second coming when:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15).
But that day is dawning, and we see it as the disciples of Jesus show the reign of God's Kingdom in their hearts — something we see in the life of Maria, who goes from an atheist and citizen to an evil regime committing genocide to a nanny, mother, and missionary bringing the freedom of God's grace!