Living & Growing: Celebrating advent

  • Sunday, November 29, 2015 1:01am
  • Neighbors

Today, the day of this publication, is the First Sunday of Advent, celebrated in Christian churches everywhere. For many, Advent marks the official beginning of the Christmas season. Following Thanksgiving, each Sunday is celebrated with Advent candles and readings and prayers. It is reflective of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ, fulfilled, as the Christian church teaches, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, born to be the Savior of the world.

As I was reflecting on Advent this year, it occurred to me God’s Advent, which means, “coming,” did not begin with Jesus in Bethlehem. It actually began far earlier in our history. From the very beginning God comes to where we are to have communion and fellowship with us. From earliest Genesis, God came down to walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, sin separating them from God’s fellowship and communion, and even when they hid from God in shame, God came seeking them. He longed for communion and fellowship with them.

God continued coming to us as He came to Noah, with a plan to save a sinful and rebellious people rather than destroy them all. He came to Abraham and called him to go to a land He would show them. And God initiated a lasting covenant with Abraham with a promise that all people would be blessed through his offspring.

When the Israelites were enslaved for 400 years in Egypt, God came again, to rescue them through a man named Moses, who led them out of bondage and to the Promised Land. Over and over again, God came to people, calling them back to Himself, seeking to restore communion and fellowship with us.

Advent is no insignificant celebration in the Christian Church. For the coming of Jesus, born as a baby in Bethlehem, was the culmination of all that God had been doing throughout history, to reconcile people to Himself. Jesus accomplished that by taking all our sin upon Himself and dying on the cross, freeing us from the consequences of sin, which is death. Jesus accomplished this through His death and resurrection.

Advent celebrates the birth of Jesus, the coming of Jesus to live among us. Advent is about God coming from the glories of His home in Heaven to the place where people dwell on earth. In His grace and mercy, He comes to you and me with arms outstretched and makes it possible for us to come to Him. My prayer is that you can know the communion and fellowship with God through the grace and mercy of His Son, whom He sent as a baby, born of a virgin, who lived and who died on a cross for our sins, and who rose again from the grave. He God Who comes near to us, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the Advent message Christian Churches proclaim.

• Dan Wiese is the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene.

More in Neighbors

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)
Living and Growing: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Ever have to say goodbye unexpectedly? A car accident, a drug overdose,… Continue reading

Visitors look at an art exhibit by Eric and Pam Bealer at Alaska Robotics that is on display until Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)
Neighbors briefs

Art show fundraiser features works from Alaska Folk Festival The Sitka Conservation… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski meets with Thunder Mountain High School senior Elizabeth Djajalie in March in Washington, D.C., when Djajalie was one of two Alaskans chosen as delegates for the Senate Youth Program. (Photo courtesy U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office)
Neighbors: Juneau student among four National Honor Society Scholarship Award winners

TMHS senior Elizabeth Djajalie selected from among nearly 17,000 applicants.

The 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest winning painting of an American Wigeon titled “Perusing in the Pond” by Jade Hicks, a student at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
THMS student Jade Hicks wins 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Jade Hicks, 18, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, took top… Continue reading

(Photo courtesy of The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Neighbors: Tunic returned to the Dakhl’aweidí clan

After more than 50 years, the Wooch dakádin kéet koodás’ (Killerwhales Facing… Continue reading

A handmade ornament from a previous U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)
Neighbors briefs

Ornaments sought for 2024 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree The Alaska Region of… Continue reading

(Photo by Gina Delrosario)
Living and Growing: Divine Mercy Sunday

Part one of a two-part series

(City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Neighbors Briefs

Registration for Parks & Rec summer camps opens April 1 The City… Continue reading

Easter eggs in their celebratory stage, before figuring out what to do once people have eaten their fill. (Photo by Depositphotos via AP)
Gimme A Smile: Easter Eggs — what to do with them now?

From Little League practice to practicing being POTUS, there’s many ways to get cracking.

A fruit salad that can be adjusted to fit the foods of the season. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: A Glorious Fruit Salad for a Company Dinner

Most people don’t think of a fruit salad as a dessert. This… Continue reading