The Daily Advent of Christ

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere
hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the
Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

—Acts 2:46-47

Yesterday we concentrated on the First Advent of Christ. But there’s more. The celebration of the coming of Christ in flesh is an everyday reality. As such, we celebrate the daily advent of Christ through prayer, praise, and proclamation of the Word made flesh. In prayer, we have the privilege of expressing thanksgiving to the One who saved us, sanctifies us, and one day will glorify us. In praise—not just during Advent, but throughout the year—we express the essence of our faith in “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). And in proclamation we “correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Furthermore, the daily advent of Christ is celebrated through community, confession, and contribution. Community is visible in baptism, which symbolizes our entrance into a body of believers who are one in the One made flesh. In like fashion, holy communion is an expression of our oneness in Christ. As we all partake of the same elements, we partake of that which the elements symbolize—Christ—through whom we are made one. A further expression of our oneness in the Christ of Christmas is our common confession of faith. As with community and confession, we experience oneness in Christ through the contribution of our time, talents, and treasure. The tragedy of modern Christianity is that all too often, when members of the body hurt or have needs, they are left to fill their void and bind their wounds apart from the body of Christ.

Finally, we celebrate the daily advent of our Savior by testifying to what we believe, why we believe, and in whom we have believed. The gospel of Christ should become such a part of our vocabulary that presenting it is second nature. In like fashion, defending the faith is not an option; it should be a basic competency of everyone who takes the sacred name of Christ upon their lips. In addition to being prepared to communicate the what and why of our faith, we must be empowered to communicate the who of our faith. This is especially essential, in that virtually every theological heresy begins with a misconception of the nature of God.

Today, as you look toward the finish line of our twenty-five-day journey to the heart of Christmas, why not ask the Holy Spirit to expand Advent from a Christmas celebration to a daily coming of Christ through worship, through oneness, and through your witness.

Reading

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15–21)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23–25)

Questions 

How can you make the advent of Christ an everyday reality in your life?

Are you willing to ask the Holy Spirit to expand Advent from a Christmas celebration to a daily experience of the coming of Christ?

Christmas Carol

 

Angels We Have Heard on High
—Traditional French Carol (Les Anges dans nos Campagnes), translated by James Chadwick

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains:
And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heav’nly song?
Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!