Advent – The Seed of Abraham (Part 1)

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

From depths of hell Thy people save,

And give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,

And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heav’nly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Adonai, Lord of might,

Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,

In ancient times didst give the law

In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

The Seed of Abraham – An Introduction

Each and every year, Christians across this amazing planet celebrate the season of Advent. A sacred time set apart to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. 

Although the word Advent has a definite meaning, it also has a uniquely Christian significance—which can’t afford to be lost. The word means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event—think the advent of electricity or the iPhone. However, in Christianity, Advent has to do with the arrival of One—King Jesus!

As it is with anything, context matters in realizing the significance of Jesus’ arrival. Historical, cultural, and spiritual contexts are all critical to understanding God’s storyline. Without these, fixating on the arrival of a first-century Jewish baby wouldn’t make a great deal of sense.

So, even if you’re new to the faith or have been in church your entire life, the next four weeks will provide a better understanding of Advent—God’s story set within its particular context.

As it is with anything, context matters in realizing the significance of Jesus’ arrival. Historical, cultural, and spiritual contexts are all critical to understanding God’s storyline. Click To Tweet

Happy Birthday Jesus?

A rather innocuous view of this season is to see it merely as a birthday celebration for Jesus. And while this is true, at least in some sense, a birthday for Jesus significantly downplays who He actually was—King of kings and Lord of lords!

You see the custom of observing birthdays began in ancient Egypt, but these observances were not for the average person. These celebrations were reserved for kings and key religious figures. Of which Jesus is both. 

Scripture confirms this special honor when recording Pharaoh’s birthday (Genesis 40:20) and Herod’s birthday (Matthew 14; Mark 6). History also shows that the term “birthday” was applied to the date of a king’s ascension to the throne.

We don’t see birthdays for the average man until much later, under the Roman Empire. And even then, these were only celebrated for major milestones. Based on ancient life expectancy, say fifty was a major milestone, then a birthday celebration might be warranted. So again a mere birthday for Jesus doesn’t cut it. Unless we are rightly recognizing Him as King!

What about presents? Isn’t Advent about that? The answer is a definite no. Much of what we know regarding Christmas presents or gift-giving actually started in the eighteen-hundreds. 

And yet in some ancient birthday celebrations, again for kings and other special individuals, people would participate with dancing, sacrifices, and gift giving. The important thing to remember was that all of this was suitable for the occasion. In other words the fanfare was designed to reflect the celebration and in particular the uniqueness of the one being celebrated.

Compare this to modern-day Christianity (which has only a veneer of being about Jesus) and what we see is the exchanging of gifts, a lot of talk about family, drinking eggnog (and depending on how it’s made… a lot of it), baking cookies, etc. but to what end? We no longer know. We’ve lost sight of who Jesus is in all of it. 

Modern-day Christianity celebrates Christmas with only a veneer of making it about King Jesus. Click To Tweet

Doing “Christmas-y” things is not a problem whatsoever! However, we really should make sure all our fanfare reflects the celebration at hand. We’re celebrating the arrival of the one and only King Jesus!

Let’s Talk

In the next post, we will examine how multiple characters from the Biblical narrative celebrated the arrival of King Jesus. We will look at Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, and Anna. Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts about celebrating Advent in a manner worthy of our King. Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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