This site was desiged for standard modern browsers. Please upgrade your internet browser to Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

An Advent Devotional

Marcus Verbrugge /Tuesday, November 30, 2021

 

It is the season of Advent. Advent means ‘arrival’ – but not just an arrival, but the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. In Christian circles, we understand Advent to be the season of the arrival of God – and that arrival is preceded by a series of events. So, we celebrate four Sundays of Advent, and we light four candles – one on each Sunday.

5 Candles of Advent

On the first Sunday we light the prophetic candle (the candle of hope) – for before God arrives, He sends his prophets.

On the second Sunday we light Bethlehem’s candle (the candle of faith) – for before God arrives, He calls us to have faith and gives us a sign that we might believe Him. Remember what the prophet said – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”[1]

On the third Sunday we light the shepherd’s candle (the candle of joy) – for before God arrives, He gives joy to those who have faith. Scripture records, “There were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.“[2] It is interesting that the joy is mixed with this holy fear at the sight of the angels.

On the fourth Sunday we light the angels’ candle (the candle of peace) – for before God arrives, He proclaims His Kingdom. So, the angles said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[3]

Finally, we light a fifth candle (called the Christ candle) on Christmas Eve as we celebrate the actual birth of Jesus Christ – the arrival of God from His domain into our domain here on earth.

Christ is the fulfillment of the whole of Advent because Christ is the fulfillment of our hope. He leads us out of bondage to sin and fear, and into His glorious Kingdom.

The First Advent

It is interesting to note that the Advent we all commemorate each Christmas is actually not the first advent in Scripture. For that, you must go back to the book of Exodus. In Exodus, God comes to Egypt – to a Gentile nation that is subjugating His people. And just as in the second Advent, the arrival of Christ, there are events linked to the arrival of God in Egypt.

First, God sent Moses – the preeminent prophet.

Then, Moses told the people of God to have faith, and showed them the signs God gave Him to perform – the staff that turned into a snake. Exodus records, “And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.” [4] Consider the similarity with the advent of Christ and the shepherds, who believed the angels, looked upon the Christ child and returned to their fields, “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”[5]

Then, God sent the plagues. Great and powerful wonders that Egypt experienced, and Israel saw. God was giving His people reason for joy, but a joy mixed with a holy fear as the end of their years of bondage was signaled. Just as the angels filled the shepherds with fear yet proclaimed joy.

Then, God proclaimed His Kingdom and gave peace to His people by covering Egypt in thick darkness even as His people had light. No one could work, and the Hebrews had rest from their labor.

Finally, God visited Egypt. Exodus records, “Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt.”[6] As He had promised, God Himself came to Egypt. He came as His people ate the Passover meal. He came in a pillar of fire, and His arrival meant the freedom of His people at the same time as it meant unrecoverable catastrophe for unrepentant Egypt.

A Third Avent

Think about that. Friends, have you considered that we are living in a third Advent?

Has not God sent His church – which is certainly more than one man or a handful of prophets? Has not God given us the sign of His Holy Spirit? Has not God sent climate change? Truly, greater wonders yet will come, even as John prophesied in Revelation, “Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” [7]

Friends, this Advent, let us participate with God in what He is doing. Let us double down on our efforts to bring the Good News of Christ to all peoples – and let us work diligently to do that before His sudden appearing brings disaster on all the unrepentant. Amen.
 


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 7:14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 2:8–10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 2:14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ex 4:31). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 2:20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ex 11:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 14:6–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.



print


Show All Blogs

An Invitation to Pray: Week 7

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK SEVEN: Witness

As we enter into this final week of prayer leading up to Pentecost Sunday (May 19th), we pray for a disciple movement that is a witness movement among all nations, all generations, and all hearts. Please join us as we lift our hearts to God, seeking His guidance and empowerment in this ongoing prayer initiative.


An Invitation to Pray: Week 6

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK SIX: The Calling and Empowering of the Holy Spirit

Join us in prayer from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday as we unite, focusing this week on the power of the Holy Spirit to impact and lead upcoming generations. As we recognize the importance of mobilizing our youth into God's mission, let's also lift up prayers for our Youth Mobilizers, so that they may be empowered, equipped, and provided for in their vital work. 


An Invitation to Pray: Week 5

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK FIVE: Unity of Mind and Purpose Born Out of Humility

In this fifth week of our prayer focus, we delve into the significance of praying for leaders and pastors to embody Jesus' vision of unity, fostering missional churches. Join us in praying for the Holy Spirit to empower mobilizers in their vital ministry.


An Invitation to Pray: Week 4

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK FOUR: Prayer for Empowered Teams

During the sacred period between Easter and Pentecost, our prayer focus turns to teams trained and empowered by Jesus for their mission. This time commemorates the disciples' receiving of the Holy Spirit, igniting a fervent prayer for modern-day teams to be similarly equipped for their tasks. As believers unite in prayer, they seek the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to guide, strengthen, and boost these teams in their endeavours.


An Invitation to Pray: Week 3

An Invitation to Pray

In this time between Easter and Pentecost, let's embrace the strength of communal prayer. Just as the early followers assembled with one purpose, let's raise our voices in harmony, seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance and blessings. During this third week, let's lift up prayers for the mobilization efforts to flourish, seeking opportunities for collaboration and fruitful partnerships in reaching diverse communities across Canada.


An Invitation to Pray: Week 2

An Invitation to Pray

As we journey through the sacred season between Easter and Pentecost, let us come together, Christians united in faith, to embrace the power of collective prayer. In this second week of our initiative, let us deepen our commitment to intercede for our communities, nations, and the world at large. Let us not underestimate the impact of our collective supplications, for in unity, our prayers resonate with greater resonance before the throne of God. Join us in this sacred endeavor, as we strive to be vessels of love, peace, and healing in a world yearning for divine intervention.


An Invitation to Pray

Join the SM family in Canada in a Season of Prayer: Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday (March 31-May 19)

This Sunday we celebrate Easter, remembering the death, burial, and resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. On that Resurrection Day everything changed. But it wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, that the power of that change was fully realized in the early disciples’ lives.

We need that same power to be at work in our efforts as the Simply Mobilizing family in Canada to awaken the church, the ‘sleeping giant’.  Our mobilization efforts shifted online during the pandemic, and much good has come from that. But the Canadian context and the Canadian church have changed. How shall we respond to these changes?