The advent is not an independent event to be celebrated on it’s own, but it is rather the dawning of God’s promises to His people. In the middle of despair and hopelessness, God came to His people in fulfillment of the promises that were made to Adam and Eve in the Garden, to Abraham, to David, and to Isaiah. The promise was that God would not remain absent, but would come – not to just make things better, but to indeed, rescue and transform.
The problem of sin and death that had engulfed the world, has devastated every single human that has ever lived. God had pledged that He would deal with sin by overcoming the gulf that separated man from Himself, through Himself. But this solution would involve waiting, lots of waiting. Faithful people waited for the fulfillment of God’s deliverer.
Every human lives with this reality – a world devastated by sin. Many things do not work the way God intended them: our bodies fall apart prematurely, our work feels unfulfilling, our relationships are marred by disagreements. The ultimate insult, the relationship that God and His creation previously enjoyed unhindered was seemingly irreparably broken. The Creator who should be revered, loved, and adored was replaced by superstitious inventions and self-worship.
Into this abyss, Jesus, the God-man would come “to save His people from their sin.” God would dwell with us in the person of Jesus Christ. The incarnation is the beginning of fulfillment of all that God has promised centuries before. We can look into our own world scarred by the effects of sin and know that God has entered this world, lived among us, and now lives in every follower of Christ in the Holy Spirit. We can know that God has come, will come again, and make all things right. While we wait for His return, our faith can be strengthened by those who waited for His first coming many years before. We can faithfully serve Him with hope and joy, when we remember Immanuel has come.