The season begins. No, not Christmas, I’m talking about Advent.
As we enter into the period Christians call Advent, this humble blog will seek to remind people about the hope found in the arrival of Jesus, swaddled in a manger. It will also hold onto the future, second advent of Jesus, found in the longing for his return. I realize that a lot of people do not understand what Advent is apart from the chocolates found behind each day of the Advent calendar. Growing up in a Christian church, I never uncovered the richness of this day until years later and hope to unpack this more clearly here.
Advent serves as a preparation period for Christians, pointing them to the Incarnation, when God became man and dwelt among us. Tuesdays will center on Jesus’ earthly ministry, looking back through the Gospel of John. Wednesdays will be centered on the classic work by the Fourth Century giant Athanasius and his work On The Incarnation. Thursdays will then close out the week with writings centered on the anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ.
Usually the best place to start with a story is at the beginning. At the start of the Lord of the Rings epic, the film lets us in on the beginning roots of the tale. It shows us an ancient battle that pitted the forces of light against those of darkness. Here in the Gospel of John, we are given a glimpse of a beginning, a time before time even began. In the beginning was the Word, and this Word was with God and He was God.
This is really tough to grasp: before time began and before any sort of Big Bang, there was God. And God did not dwell all by his lonesome, instead he existed in a relationship called (as Christian theologians explain) Trinity. God existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three in one and one in three.* But while we can speak about Him from a philosophical point of view, God decided to reveal himself to humanity. He revealed himself to us through the stories we find in the Bible. He spoke to people like Moses, Elijah, and Isaiah as found in Scripture. However, he didn’t stop there; instead he chose to reveal himself to us through Jesus, when God became man.
John captures this dynamic through his account of Jesus, relating to his readers that the glory of God is found in Jesus the Messiah. That Jesus has made God known to us (1:18) and is in fact equal to the Father (5:18).
Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us (1:14) so that God could be made known to us. The one who spoke the universe into existence with an explosive Word is also the same one who brings light to men and women. His life shone in the darkness and “the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5).
The same love that so many feel toward Jesus can also be found in the Father, for Jesus points us to him. Through the Advent of Christ, we are given unprecedented access to God and subsequently are made new by the working of the Holy Spirit.
I know there’s a lot of Trinitarian stuff floating around here, but the one thing I want to make clear is that Christ came to make God known to us more fully.
*A nice explanation of the Trinity can be found here in Christianity Today.