Advent Week 5: Christ by Lisa Crow
Advent Week 5: Christ by Lisa Crow
This week we light all the candles. We light the purple Hope candle, the purple Faith candle, the pink Joy candle, the purple Peace candle and the white Christ candle at the center. In doing so, we remember that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. Traditionally, the entire wreath is lit on Christmas Eve and stays lit until the candles go out, providing a back light to all of our celebrations and final preparations. I realize that, throughout this journey, I have taken some unconventional approaches to celebrating advent. Thank you so much for sticking with me. I have spoken more about sorrow, repentance and unbelief than the themes of Christmas typically warrant (and more than I intended). Comparatively, this post will be simple, but I believe I would be remiss if I did not get straight to the heart of the matter when concerning Christ.
Jesus has many names, but the name “Christ” is deeply rooted in the core of a believer. It is really what we understand about Him first. When we finally acknowledged our trespass against God, we were really understanding that we couldn’t fix the broken relationship between us and God. We needed someone to take our place and make us right with Him. We all have different details in our stories, but when boiled down to the very root, we are all the same. We were all, at one time, enemies of God, choosing the pleasures of this world. But God did not leave us there. He made a way to salvation! And through the incredible work of Jesus Christ — from birth, to death, to life — He resurrected our dead lives. We now have the right to stand before a holy God and, not only continue to exist, but also to call him “Abba” or Daddy. Our scripture in John says we received the right to become children of God. This truth can never be spoiled, or taken, or damaged by anyone or anything.
It’s a wonder how our hearts could ever stray from absolute worship, when we contemplate this honor that Jesus bestowed upon us. From the beginning of time, God desired a relationship with us, and from the first sin in the garden, He had a plan to bring His people back to Him. Like an artist on a canvas, each layer of time revealed more and more about this promised Christ. Each detail a clue to teach our hearts to be ready. This is not a message that causes us to look back thousands of years and wonder what it must have been like to know Jesus. It is a message that causes us to celebrate that we know Him now! We don’t have to wonder what it was like to have known Jesus, because we know Him now.
It may seem odd that I have included a reading from the book of Revelation into the Christmas story. I did this for two reasons. The first is that this scripture highlights, in a very real way, how devastating life would be without the worthiness of Jesus. We mustn’t ever forget that we came to Jesus and we exist in Him with great need. We desperately need Jesus. We need Him as both Lion and as Lamb; as conquerer and as a sacrifice. Nothing (and no one) else in all of creation could be what Jesus is; worthy. This fact must loom large in our hearts and minds.
The second reason I chose this passage from Revelation is because it displays an incredible response to Jesus. We see complete and utter worship by those in His presence. Every human being knows the feeling of complete and utter loss that separation from God brings. But we, as rightful children of God, also know the comfort of being restored to Him. We are continually brought back to Jesus in worship. I think Jeff put it incredibly well this weekend, when he said that the response to Jesus looks the same no matter where we are. Whether we have known him decades, minutes or not yet at all, the response is to run into Him and abide their in an intimate relationship.
In Revelation 5 the myriads of people sang a new song together. This highlights the unity that Jesus brings to His people. Because of who Christ is and what He’s done, we belong. Also notice that there are different songs and instruments brought to the throne room. We were not saved to be lost in the shuffle of all of the people. We are not welcomed into the fold and forgotten. We are known, now and always. I once asked my mom why Jesus would know how many hairs are on our heads instead of giving us all the same amount of hair (Luke 12:7). She said it’s to let us know that each and every one of us are important to God, down to the smallest detail. He loves us even though He knows us and He created us to worship. He loves the worship of His people (the prayers and songs) because He loves His people. He calls us as we are and accepts the offerings of our hands.
So, as we light the last candle, remember that Jesus is worthy. He is calling your heart to Him in worship. Jesus is our hope, faith, joy and peace. We could be ushered into right standing with God by no other. I pray that, whether you have known Jesus for decades, have yet to know Him, or are somewhere in between, this Christmas your heart would hear Jesus’ call and enter into worship and relationship. He is worthy.
Scripture reading: John 1:9-14, Luke 2:1-52, Revelation 5
Thing Remembered: Jesus is the perfect sacrifice.
Why is it important that Jesus is both the Lion and the Lamb?
How do we continue to cultivate worship?
What do we do when we don’t feel Hope, Faith, Joy or Peace?
Who can we be praying for to come to know Christ?
The First Noel
Children’s craft: Have the children trace their hands on card stock. Color in the bottom of the fingers and thumb black. Glue cotton balls into the hand prints, leaving some of the black showing for the feet and face of a lamb. Have them write “Jesus the Lamb of God” or any of the verses on the page.
Adult craft: Rustic Lamb pompom ornaments. Make pompoms out of white yarn and use black felt to cut out shapes of 4 feet and sheep shaped face. Glue feet and face to pompom in correct places. Glue a few small French knots to the top off the face. When attaching the twine to make the pompom leave extra to use to hang the ornament. Attach a bell to the front for a cute addition.
Closing Prayer: O, Lord, God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing. May we overflow with faith by thy power, Holy Spirit. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen