The theme series on Expectation, which already began on the first Sunday of Advent, is continued in December with the following three focal points:
- The way-preparer
- The nature of the Saviour
- The King comes
Expectation is most often associated with preparation. For example, one might prepare for a celebration, a visitor, or even a test. As officiants we prepare ourselves for a divine service, but we should also do this as listeners. This preparation will always relate to the focal point of the upcoming event. So let us also focus on the birth of Jesus and its effects as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas.
On the second Sunday of Advent we are called upon to prepare ourselves for the upcoming events of Christmas. Indeed, we are to make use of the time of Advent in order to occupy ourselves with the coming of Jesus to this earth, as well as His imminent return. In addition, we are to become way-preparers for others in order to profess the Lord, who has come and who will come again. How do we treat the people around us who do not yet know the Lord or do not know Him anymore? Will we have the courage to share our anticipation of the feast of Christ’s birth with them?
On the third Sunday of Advent we deepen our expectation by visualizing the nature of our Lord. His exemplary activity was already foretold by Isaiah, who spoke of the righteousness of the One who was to come. The remarks concerning this divine service are to create awareness about the tremendous grace with which the Lord treats us human beings, be it in the past, present, or future. The more we become aware of the nature of Jesus Christ, the closer we will come to His way of thinking, and the closer we will come to Him in our service to Him.
The focal point of the divine service on the fourth Sunday of Advent is “The King comes”. His love for us and our love for Him are now the focus shortly before Christmas. We also become credible witnesses of our love for Him when we prove our love for our neighbour through our deeds—on the basis of love and not calculation!
In so doing we already practise that which we will continue as a royal priesthood in the kingdom of peace, namely to profess the Lord and proclaim the gospel credibly!
The three aforementioned focal points build upon one another. Before occupying ourselves with the birth of Jesus we turn our attention to the exemplary activity of Jesus and His infinite love. The focal points are each seen from a historical and present-day perspective, but also refer to the future, namely our eternal fellowship with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We conclude the year with worship and bow down before the hand of God in awareness of His omnipotence. Elements of our worship that should come to expression include our profession of the Lord, humbleness before Him, gratitude for all of His blessings, and ultimately also trust in Him.
We have so much reason to be thankful to God for all we have received over the past year: we have benefitted from His grace, His protection, and the continued activity of His Spirit.