Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
During this season of Advent, we are invited to direct our attention to the coming of Jesus, the eternal Son of God, into this world as the baby born in the manger. Jesus, of course, came into this world to reveal the true God and to die for our sins, so this is a celebration of God’s grace now accessible to us.
But the desire of Jesus was not merely to enter this world, but to enter our hearts. There really is no point in celebrating His birth if we do not invite Him to live and reign in our hearts. The late theologian, Robert Webber, offered these thoughts:
“In Advent spirituality we are also called on to mediate on the birthing of Christ in our hearts. In this matter we are dealing with the conversion of life, the movement away from the old life lived under the power of evil to the new life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. True conversion is a turning from one way of life to another. Christ calls us to be converted to Him, to Make Him the pattern of our lives, to make our living and dying a living and dying in Him.
” Advent is a time to review once again where our faith is placed and how our lives are lived. Trust in Jesus is not merely a onetime act but a continuous state of being, a moment-by-moment existence in Christ. It is a daily turning from a life lived for self to a life lived in tune with the power of the Spirit who continually calls us to be like Jesus.”
The coming of Jesus does not merely give us a holiday to celebrate that onetime event, but it opens a new day-by-day way of life in which we can know His presence, experience His love, and be directed to His good purposes for our lives. So this Advent and Christmas, let us open our hearts afresh to experience and live out all that Jesus came to grant us.
Grace and peace,