Sunday evening we will gather again for worship, but this time, we will gather through the specific lens of the Advent Season. Advent (which simply means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’) is the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas and is reserved to intentionally reflect on the arrival of Christ.
Because of the overwhelming pomp and circumstance of Christmas in the Bible Belt, it’s difficult to not be aware of the arrival of Christ (the message of Christmas) but few of us consider how Jesus’ coming affects our going (the method of Christmas).
The incarnation (God taking on flesh) is a mind-bending doctrine. A cosmic deity voluntarily becomes a local, physical person is a staggering truth. But it is far more than just orthodox information to be aware of - the incarnation should shape how we interact with the world.
Here are three ways that the incarnation, that we uniquely celebrate at Christmas should affect our everyday Christian walk.
This was an intentional act, a direct mission of God, therefore we shouldn’t be casual or haphazard about reaching out to our lost friends. We should have a specific and thoughtful approach to loving our friends. Jesus did not enter the world as a generic human - he came as a first century, Aramaic speaking, Jewish man. Therefore we do not have generic, stock gospel presentations, instead we spend time listening and interacting with our friends and neighbors - specifically looking to understand their questions, concerns, wounds and insecurities.
This takes time. While there is a real urgency to share the gospel, there is not a single instance in Scripture where Jesus is described as frantic or rushed. In fact, Jesus worked in relative obscurity for 30 of his 33 years as a local carpenter before beginning his public ministry. The incarnation reassures us that it is God who saves. Spiritual birth and growth will not be rushed.
Jesus did not enter the world as a conquering king, he didn’t even enter as an adult – he came to us as an infant. This suggests to me that the church should always assume a posture of humility, vulnerability and service. Philippians 2:6-8 says, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…”
The church does not need rock stars to make the gospel relevant, she doesn’t need celebrities to make the gospel popular, she just needs obscure local carpenters that will be faithful… that’s how our founder did it.