Advent Readings

Happy Monday! Yesterday was the beginning of the church season known as “Advent.”  The word “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus which means “coming.”  So during this time leading up to Christmas as we remember the incredible truth of the incarnation, God becoming a man, we also, as Christians living on the other side of Christ resurrection, look forward to our Lord’s second advent. Below are a few available readings you can use during this season of Advent.  A couple from Desiring God (both by John Piper), Good News of Great Joy and The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.  Focus on the Family has an Advent reading particularly for those with young children.  While it doesn’t include all the coloring sheets and stand alone calendar the version here has the message and activity.

The Fifth of May

Today is Cinco De Mayo a day commemorating the Battle of Puebla (1862) where a band of Mexican troops defeated the invading French troops despite being outnumbered two to one.  The French troops still invaded Mexico City but with the aid of the Americans the French were pushed out for good and President Benito Juarez was restored.  While today is celebrated in Mexico, particularly in Puebla, the holiday has become larger in America.  We celebrated by having tacos for lunch (made with venison, yum).  In other words, we had an excuse to eat tacos, not that we really needed one.

Today is also an important day in the history of the church, one that is quite often overlooked.  Today is Ascension Day.  That is to say today marks the day that our Lord ascended into heaven after His resurrection from the grave.  It was forty days after our Lord’s resurrection that He ascended to the Father’s right hand (just as the date for Easter changes each year so does Ascension Day).  During those forty days Jesus appeared to Peter, two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, the rest of the apostles, and more than five hundred brothers at one time among others (cf. Matt. 28:8-9; Luke 24:13-35; 1 Cor. 15:5-7).  Jesus also enjoyed a meal with the disciples and commissioned them to make disciples of all nations, a commission that remains true for followers of Jesus today (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; John 21:9-14).

In Acts 1 we read the following,

“So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight” (vv. 6-9).

Jesus said it was to the disciple’s advantage that He goes away (cf. John 16:7).  This must have shocked His disciples for they could not possibly imagine at that time how it would be better for their Master and Teacher to go away.  Yet as Jesus ascended into heaven the angel assures them that Jesus will come back in the same way (cf. Acts 1:10-11) and then in the very next chapter of Acts we read about the coming of the promised Holy Spirit.  Now rather than Jesus only being with the disciples when they were with Jesus, wherever they went, or wherever the believer today goes, the Holy Spirit was with them and is with us.

We could touch on a number of other areas about the ascension of our Lord but a quick look at Hebrews gives us a good picture of what Jesus is doing right now, after ascending and before His return.  “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but He [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:23-25).  Jesus is our Great High Priest who is interceding for us (see also Rom. 8:31-39).  After Jesus offered a single sacrifice for sins He sat down at His Father’s right hand and is there interceding for the believer (Heb. 10:12).  Jesus now is interceding for us and is waiting “until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet” (Heb. 10:13).  The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered and all Christ’s enemies will be made a footstool under His feet.