This reflection is a bit more current than the recent two. It's something I shared with the church family in this week's newsletter.
I suspect that many of you who grew up in Baptist churches share a similar experience of not being introduced to Advent celebrations until in recent years. I don't recall my small hometown church in Texas ever even mentioning the word during our preparation for Christmas. We would typically prepare a Christmas cantata, the children's choir would sing, and we would often go caroling from house to house in our town, but Advent as such was unknown.
I'm grateful that more and more Baptist churches are including Advent in their church calendars as we approach the Christmas season. The emphasis upon waiting for the Lord's coming and celebrating His arrival reminds us anew and afresh of the significance of Jesus' birth and God breaking into history after almost four centuries of silence. With the passing on the last Old Testament prophets, it must have seemed to the Israelites that the heavens had been sealed tightly, for no fresh word was received from God for four hundred years. Surely devout Jews continued to anticipate the coming of the long-promised Messiah, but many generations passed without experiencing the fulfillment of that prophetic promise.
When God did break that silence, it was certainly worth it, for He chose not to merely speak through another prophet but to become a man and live among us. I love how John expresses that truth in John 1:14 when he writes that the eternal Word "tabernacled" among us. For a period of thirty years, God pitched His tent among humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. That's good news worth celebrating and sharing in this season.