By: Joe Difato
Christmas is much more than the celebration of the historical event of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
It is also the celebration of a central truth about God: that he sent his only Son to save us from our sins. It’s a celebration of the incredible love of a God who “did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all” (Romans 8:32). It’s a celebration of God’s deep desire to draw everyone to himself.
To help us prepare for Christmas, God invites us to spend these next four weeks, the season of Advent, focusing on Jesus’ coming among us. But the season of Advent has a double focus. We know that it is a time to prepare for the coming of Jesus in humility as a baby. But it is also a time to look forward to the day when he will come again, this time in glory as our King.
This double focus of Advent poses a question for us. How should we live in this time between Jesus’ first coming and his return?
He Will Come Again. In this special Advent issue of The Word Among Us, we want to try to answer this question. First, we want to encourage you to spend some time in prayer every day, recalling all the reasons why Jesus came to be with us on Christmas Day. The more we remember about Jesus and his mission here on earth, the more we will find ourselves eager to do great things for him—even though it may call for a sacrifice of time, energy, or money.
Second, we want to ask you to spend time this Advent reflecting on the Second Coming. The Israelites were looking forward to the coming of a Messiah who would deliver them from every kind of bondage, one who would usher in a kingdom of justice, peace, and love. In our day, God wants us to look forward to the time when Jesus will come again and restore all things and make everything right.
So imagine with me. In your mind, picture a world where love rules, and injustice is a thing of the past. Picture a world free of fighting, bloodshed, or death. Picture a world with no more suffering or sickness. This is why I long for Jesus to come again. This is where I want to be. Yes, I love living in this world. I love serving the Lord, and I hope to do it for the rest of my life. But let me be clear: I would rather be living in the New Jerusalem.
I hope the spiritual and practical advice in this magazine will help you to enjoy this blessed season of Advent. I hope it helps you to embrace Jesus and prepare the way for him in your home.
I would like to wish all of you— from all of us at The Word Among Us—a happy and blessed Christmas.