Advent>noun (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “arrival”).
1. the arrival of a notable person or thing.  2. Christian Theology the coming or second coming of Christ.  3. the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas.

During this season, we often anticipate, look forward to and prepare for the coming or arrival of many things. We pull the artificial tree out of the attic, or go purchase or cut a real one and decorate it with ornaments. We purchase or make gifts, putting much time and thought into each one for each special person. We prepare menus and try new recipes. We clean house or at least push the excess under the bed or in the closet for later disposition.  We look forward to the arrival of family and of festive time spent with friends.  And, if we stop for a little while among the hustle and bustle, we might remember that the season is in celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first Advent.

The prophets of old foretold the coming of the Christ, the Messiah.  Many anticipated and looked to his coming.  And yet, on that Advent long ago, many failed to recognize the arrival of Jesus.  No one was looking for a king, a savior in a stable.  The birth of Christ today would be akin to a homeless, unwed young girl having a baby in the back of a car.  No one wanted her.  Everyone looked down on her.  People would whisper that Joseph was not even that baby’s daddy!  There would be much ridicule. Much scorn. Much disdain.

…Christ Jesus, who, being in the very nature (or form), God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself of no reputation, made himself NOTHING, he emptied himself, by taking the very nature (or form) of a servant, being made in human likeness. He stripped himself of all privileges and rightful dignity so as to assume the guise of a servant, a slave, in that he became like man and was born human.  And being found in appearance as a man and in the likeness of men, he humbled himself, by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8, multiple translations)

Jesus, fully God, purposefully (with purpose) emptied himself (shed his divine nature, all his glory) and zipped himself up in human skin and became fully man.  He entered this world in a lowly manner, proclaimed to the lowly, identifying with all humanity, pouring himself out into the lives of the outcast, the downtrodden, the broken people for all time.  He was tempted and tested.  He was despised and rejected.  And having humbled himself to being confined to the body of a man, he then humbled himself to the worst of all deaths, the death of the cross.  He suffered humiliation.  He was beaten and broken, bearing all of humanity’s penalty and pain, the burden of ALL sin within his body.

Why?  So that you and I would not have to. Period.  That we would not have to experience death and hell.  He dove into the sewage, to rescue us out of the sewage.  What a Gift! The payment for the penalty of my sin!  No other man could, would do that for me, for you  And being buried he then arose out of the grave on the third day, being victorious over death!  Victory over sin and death! Only God could, would do that for me, for you.

The verses above are prefaced, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude (your mindset) should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... (Philippians 2:3-5a).

Is Christ in you? Then clothe yourself with the mind of Christ. Humble yourself this season, this new year, pouring yourself into the lives of others so that they too may experience the Gift.

And, having the assurance of the work of Jesus The Christ, we can now look forward to that glorious Second Advent when one day ALL will recognize Him for Who and What He is.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
and that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:9-11

paraphrased from message delivered by my Pastor, Bobby Capps

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