We have arrived at the last Sunday of Advent. The 4th candle of the candlestick will be lit tomorrow in churches throughout the country. Young children are often given the opportunity to set the wick of that candle on fire. Sometimes it is exciting, but always moving. Now that the quartet is almost full, the countdown is almost complete and the full light comes on. Time for the beautiful celebration of Christmas, where we consciously reflect on the birth of God’s Son here on earth. Jesus Christ, the Light of the world has come.
The past few weeks have been all about Adventus . This Latin word means coming and describes the hopeful attitude of Christians worldwide. Then and now. We think back intensely to that moment‘unto us a child is born and to us a son is given’ . This practice of counting down and expecting originated in the Eastern Church as early as the fourth century AD. Churches are counting down together to the coming of the Son of Man.
Something starts here!
Yet these weeks of anticipation are about more than a birth. Christmas is just the start. The coming of Jesus marks the beginning of a much larger story. It is not without reason that Advent is the start of the liturgical year in the church. Here something incredible begins!
Of course, the moment when the Messiah would come has been awaited for centuries. But that desire was not so much focused on the birth, but rather on the coming kingdom. Israel dreamed of a heavenly king like David, who would restore peace and justice. A Messiah who would deliver his people from evil.
The focus of Advent is not just the manger. Christmas is not just the fulfillment of the countdown, but the start of an unimaginable master plan to pour out God’s salvation over the entire earth. “As the sea is full of water, so shall the earth be full of the knowledge of the greatness of the LORD” (Habakkuk 2:14). That plan unfolds precisely from the manger, via the cross to a beautiful kingdom. The fulfillment of our hope is not just the arrival of a baby, but the breakthrough of a heavenly realm. That is the coming, theadventus , which we are looking forward to!
As I thought about this, I saw the parallel with what we as Royal Mission experience. This past year God has given us a wonderful new training center. In December 2017, God gave me a promise that He would give us a building. Huge financial miracles took place and on April 1 of this year we officially became owners of De Schutterij 10 in Veenendaal. In the time between the promise and the fulfillment of this enormous miracle, we have been looking forward to the arrival of the building. Yet the goal is not the building, but what God will do through or in the building. The focus is not the purchase of a pile of bricks, but the expansion of God’s kingdom and the revival of His church. It is not only a miracle, but above all a promise of what is to come.
Enjoy Christmas and let the lights illuminate your church and your home. But keep your eyes on the King and His throne. Let Christmas give you more hope than ever for the adventus of God’s reign on earth and the people around you. Jesus is no longer in the manger and no longer on the cross. Jesus wears the highest crown and that is the Jesus we see and envision. God’s reign is coming!
On behalf of the Royal Mission team, I wish you a wonderful and royal Christmas!