"Down to Earth"
With Advent fast approaching my mind jumped to one of my favorite Christmas Carols, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. The last line of the first verse reads, “…the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” The everlasting light of God came “down to earth” in Bethlehem, in a lowly stable, in the form of a baby.
Advent is the four Sundays prior to Christmas and represents a time of preparation. Our preparation is only four weeks, but Bethlehem, on that night, had been waiting for hundreds of years. In Matthew’s Gospel (2:6) the Prophet Micah is quoted when it says, “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Isaiah’s beautiful, “For us to us a Son is born, unto us a child is given” also looks forward to God coming down to earth.
Our theme for Advent this year is “Down To Earth”. We will look at God’s “Down to Earth Love”, “Down to Earth Humility”, Down to Earth Lifestyle” and Down to Earth Obedience”, and how we are called to live into this “down to earth” God.
John’s Gospel records those powerful words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Emmanuel, God with us, came down to earth to draw all of humankind to himself. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” is John’s beautiful way of saying God came “down to earth.” Eugene Peterson says it this way in The Message, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
Our greatest joy is knowing that God cared so much the he chose to become a part of this earthly existence so we could better understand what it is like to strive after the heavenly existence. Coming “down to earth” helps us realize that God understands the challenges of our lives and seeks to help us in living every day. Our lives can grow and flourish as we are immersed in love and humility, taking on the lifestyle of our Savior and learning obedience to the ways of God. Our hopes and our fears all meet in the wondrous birth and the result is “life at its fullest” in Jesus Christ.
In preparation for the Advent Season you might remind yourselves of the Christmas Stories in Matthew (1:18-2:12), Luke (Luke 1:26-2:20), and the unique narrative in John (1:1-14). We will be utilizing and unlikely group of scriptures from Philippians chapter two throughout the Advent Season. Read Philippians 2:1-8 and 2:12-15.
Our Advent Wreath will remind us of those amazing gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Light as we reconnect with the white and gold images of the Chrismon Tree,
Let’s come to this Advent Season with open hearts and lives, ready to receive the gift of the Christ Child.