Advent Set Aside
Zechariah 14:1–9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1–18
So often, it takes destruction for transformation. Far too many stories, whether Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, Narcotics Anonymous, or others involve someone hitting rock bottom before a turn-around occurs.
The opening words from this passage from Zechariah are brutal. The cruelty that the Israelites would receive went from financial, to property, physical. There was nothing positive regarding the effects of this day.
The living water, though, should be of particular interest to Christians. In some respects, the fall of Jerusalem leads to the living water going out into the world, rather than being “captured” by Jerusalem. As Christians view Jesus as the Living Water, it can be inferred that this particular fall of Jerusalem leads to God no longer only calling the Israelites. This is capped by God “becoming” King over the whole world. As Christians, we can see how God “becomes” the King of the world as the Living Water fills thirsty souls who cry out to God.
In many respects, sadly, Christians seem to have far too much in common with the Israelites. It’s that this is particularly new. There was a reason for Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians.
There is something to be said about being admonished about holiness and sanctification as the world twists the meaning of Christmas to be more about presents and family than Jesus. This is especially true on this Friday. This Friday has almost become a spiritual event at the altar of the register.
This particular holiday season will likely be one of the more interesting. Many governments will continue encouraging people to stay home. Much of the hype that goes along with the holiday season will be about new (or revisited) technology that gathers distant families digitally. The need to connect with family will still be there.
With, theoretically, less chaos having to do with family visits that upset the schedules and spaces of homes, people will be more focused on those that are within their walls, or even next door. Ideally, this means that Christians will turn more to the Scriptures and (perhaps) relearn about this God who came down.
What are your plans to set aside more time between yourself and God this Advent season?
Jesus, as we begin the season that observes both your birth and your promised return, may we not neglect you as we are surrounded by a world that is in a flurry with buying stuff, gatherings, lack-of-gatherings, and the desires for a restart. Amen.
Ian is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, and is currently Co-Lead Pastor at Enumclaw Nazarene Church in Enumclaw, WA, USA.
He has previously served as Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA; Associate Pastor at Snohomish Church of the Nazarene; College and Young Adult Pastor at Moscow Church of the Nazarene in Moscow, ID, USA.
Ian also writes at Starlyth.info (personal) and Nazarene.Digital (On Digital Transformation of the Church)