A manger, as someone succinctly put it, is a wooden structure large enough to hold the Bread of Life. See how this common stable fixture is lifted up to a place of sacred significance. A manger is not enough, though, not even one that holds the Bread of Life. It is only a beginning. The fulfillment lies in another wooden fixture. Looming in the midnight shadows of the manger, there is the figure of the Cross. Like the manger, it is a wooden structure large enough to hold the Bread of Life. The manger is a symbol of joy, but a very peculiar joy, for even as we celebrate Christmas, we know that the day of Crucifixion is also at hand.
In these meditations for Advent and Christmas, come and consider the King who was born in a stable, crowned with thorns and now reigns forever. Trace the path of prophets who foresaw Him, angels who announced Him, shepherds who witnessed Him and wise men who pursued Him. Ponder with Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna what it means to watch, wait, listen and believe. Learn why Jesus came and how His birth, life, death and resurrection are the reason for every season.
Advent is a time of waiting and preparation. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” In ancient Rome, the adventus was a ceremony in honor of the emperor, welcoming him into the city. The Christian season of Advent is a time of watching and welcoming that focuses on the coming of Jesus, God’s Anointed King, into the world.
At Christmas, we celebrate the first coming of King Jesus, when He established the kingdom of God. But we also keep an eye toward the second coming, when He will return once again and the kingdom of God will fill all the earth. In the meantime, we live between the comings as the kingdom of God increases and multiplies.
In Let Earth Receive Her King, we will explore some of the ancient promises God made to Abraham, David and the Old Testament prophets. We will also consider how the hope of Israel and the salvation of the world began to be realized two thousand years ago as we look at the Christmas story in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and taste of the rich meaning of the Incarnation in the Gospel of John and the letters of Paul.
Let us together prepare our hearts and increase our expectation about what God has done at Christmas, is doing now in this present time and will do next in the world through His kingdom — and His King, Jesus the Messiah.