Devotional Introduction

Advent begins and ends as God with us. In the beginning, God created a masterful environment for humanity to flourish in relationship with God. Despite the perfection, however, our insistence on doing it on our own resulted in that paradise being lost and ruined. All through history, we have been reminded of his kindness and love for us, of his pursuit of our hearts and his desire to return us to his presence and be God with us. There were prophecies and promises and whispers of God doing something amazing that would mend the brokenness our sin had caused and bring a reconciliation to our hearts and all of creation. A return to a better Eden; to a home in which we had never lived was awaiting.

Advent is celebration of both the anticipation and arrival of that cosmos- changing event. That event is Jesus and the manger is just the beginning. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a child being born to a virgin and his name being Immanuel, which means “God with us”. But God was not content to merely inhabit the same planet and life with us for a few short years. No, He is after much much more. His reclamation of our hearts extends into eternity and encompasses the whole of this creation.

Advent certainly involves the Christmas story, for in it we see the first arrival of Jesus. His first arrival, however, is to lift our gaze to his cross, his resurrection, his ascension, and his second return when he will restore all that is ruined, beautify all that has been made ugly by sin. This is why we can both anticipate what is to come and celebrate what has already occurred. This is Advent.

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” ~Isaiah 25:9

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