Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
This coming Sunday, Nov. 29th, is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent includes the four Sundays before Christmas, and so it leads us into the final days of the year. Probably many of us will be happy to see 2020 come to an end. Due to a tiny virus we cannot even see, this has been a year of sickness and death, sorrow and disappointment, disrupted routines and days of isolation. For six months, we were not able to meet together for worship, and we long to both worship together and fellowship with one another.
All of this points to the meaning of Advent. The word “Advent” means “to come.” But what is coming hasn’t arrived yet, so we wait. The ancient Israelites waited for the coming of the Messiah, which would bring about the “advent” of the Messianic Age – a time when wrongs would be righted, evil overturned, and the Messiah would reign.
During this Advent season, in our hearts and minds, we travel back in time to join with the ancient Israelites in waiting for the birth of the Messiah. At the time, we turn our eyes toward what is yet to come – the return of Jesus the Messiah. In this world of pandemics and isolation, sickness and death, heartache and tears, we remember that a new day, a new era is coming.
As we pray that the pandemic will end and the virus will be eradicated, we await the day when “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). In the midst of our disappointment and sorrow, remember that the time will come when God Himself will wipe away our tears and pain will be no more (Rev. 21:4–5). While we worship in isolation from one another, we look forward to that day when “a great multitude” will eat the marriage supper of the Lamb and worship together (Rev. 19:6–9). We rejoice that a new day is coming.
How shall we live as we await that great day of our Lord’s return? Titus 2:12b-14 instructs us, “We live godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
May God give us grace to live faithfully as His people in the present age, even as we await with hope and assurance the day Jesus returns and makes all things new.
Grace and peace,