Is That All We Get?
With the arrival of Advent, our thoughts turn to carols, cards, greens and gifts, wonder and worship. The wonderful season of Advent points us forward. Forward in our preparation for the Return of the King.
This is a favorite time for many. It brings opportunity for family and friends to gather. It brings faces of people back into the Lord's house that we have not seen for a while. There the anticipation of a full church for the Children's Christmas Service and the Candlelight Service of Christmas Eve. It also affords us yet another run at those familiar tunes of hymns and carols that we sing for a short time each year.
However, this can also be a very hard time for some. This year, there will be those of our family who are not home for this festive time of gathering. They are off serving our nation. We remember them in our prayers and ask that the same Lord who was born in a stable would watch over them even at such a great distance.
For others this time can be even harder. The prospect facing a Christmas with an empty chair or missing stocking on the mantle, this can be a very trying time. And this need not be a new vacancy either. In these cases, Advent and Christmas are a double-edge sword. They can be at the same time great joy and sorrow, memory and agony.
All of these things are real. The anticipation and the dread are real. The hustle and the bustle are real. The hymns an the carols are real. All of these play a part in our making of Advent and our celebration of Christmas.
It is here that we could ask the question of the ungrateful child. "Is this all we get?"
The Answer is NO! In Advent and Christmas our hearts and minds are focused once again on the glory of the Lord being hidden in human flesh. This is so much more than just one day. For the incarnation plays such a vital role in our salvation. For this child that we prepare for is the same one that would head off to the Cross for us. There, the flesh-covered Son of God willingly lays down His life for Hiss wayward sheep. That's you and me!
But wait, there is more. The coming of God in the flesh is the gift that keeps on giving. For as we assemble throughout the year around Word and Sacrament, that same body and blood is poured out for us in the feast that is the Lord's Supper. This gift of the Son of God in the flesh is one that lasts us every day of every year. We can't let this be a celebration treated like our Christmas decorations. They are taken out, used for a bit and then put away. When we do this with incarnation of Jesus, we are telling God, "is this all we get?"
But this annual observance is one that lasts all year, every year. Advent points us to Christ, the coming one. Christmas gives us Christ the Incarnate One. These are celebrations on both sides of Easter which shows us Christ the Risen One. They all fit together, hand in glove.
Is this ALL we get? You bet. For it is ALL that our Lord wants us to have. A coming Savior. An Incarnate Savior. A Crucified Savior. A Risen Savior. A Coming Again Savior. this all we get at Christmas. And it is all we need.