This Sunday is the start of Advent. I have been pondering much in this last season of life about hope amid chaos. Anticipating a better day. Anticipating resolve. Advent is the season in the historical Christian Church calendar that leads to Christmas. Christmas is the time on the church calendar where we celebrate the birth of Jesus the promised Christ into the world to save the world. This arrival of Jesus was promised by God throughout the Old Testament.
Jesus showed up in the “set time” (χρόνος – Chronos).
But when the set time (χρόνος -chronos) had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
“χρόνος (Chronos)” is where we get the word chronological from. This means that at that moment of history moving on the timeline was the “set time”(or the perfect moment) that God had everything for Jesus to show up on the scene as planned for Mary to give birth to Jesus. With all of the oppression that God’s people had experienced over the hundreds of years leading to Jesus’s birth, they had been waiting in anticipation for generations hoping for this moment (set time). The perfect moment. The moment God picked. The set time was a night that Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem.
We now wait in a time where our world is torn. A pandemic has brought fear and chaos. Nations and political leads play games and threats for power, at the expense of people. Jesus promised that He would return and set all things right once and for all. Some just like God’s people were waiting in anticipation for Jesus to come, we are waiting for the “set time” in which Jesus will return. This is what we think of and remember at Advent. We remember the anticipation of Jesus’s birth, and we wait with anticipation for the future return of Christ.
What can we learn from Mary (Jesus’s Mother) as we wait? What are some realities that connect us to her, as we wait?
Let’s look at her call and promise:
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Let’s look at that same promise given to Joseph:
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
What do we see from these passages around God’s call and work in and through Mary?
- We see that Mary was chosen
- She was a carrier of the presence of God
- We see that it was the work of the Holy Spirit in her that the promise was fulfilled
- When the” set time” was to come her son would come into the world and bring about a kingdom that will never end.
As we wait for the “set time” of the return of Christ, it is not just with one person on earth that this second advent of the divine Christ will come, but with God’s people (the followers of Jesus) that He has chosen and has redeemed to be carriers of the presence of God. This is why Romans 8 tells us that creation “waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” so that creation can be released from the bondage of decay (Romans 8:19-21). All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit, according to this chapter. I love that verse 22 likens this to the pains of childbirth. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit coming on us that this work is possible, and we participate in the birth of new life as His kingdom comes and His will is done on Earth as it is in heaven. He will be with us (Emmanuel) and will make all things right and reign forever. There will be no more crying or pain (Revelation 21:1-4). This will come to life at the “set time” that we are waiting with anticipation for.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.