'Tis the first week of Advent and the first week of the Christian calendar. It is fitting and right that these occur at the same time. It is a Do-Over and a beginning again.
Advent is the time of anticipation of the Christ-child who came and who continues to come. Our singular focus for these weeks is to prepare our hearts to receive Him. Sadly, the Incarnation, Jesus' leaving the throne room of the Father and coming to humans to be Immanuel, often gets lost in the midst of "holiday" celebrations. But the Incarnation changes everything!
Because Christ came, lived, died, was raised, and is coming again, we can now approach "the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Heb 4:16). But this confident approach of the Father would be impossible without the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the definitive declaration that God so loved the world. . . . There is no greater love!
So in this first week of Advent and first week of the Christian calendar, we're reminded to focus and to re-focus on the Christ who came. It is a Do-Over. The "holiday" celebrations are only the beginning of the myriad ways that our focus is drawn away from the Christ who is Immanuel — God with us. Because we are seriously distractible people, our lives' busyness of family and work and recreation draws us from a Christ-centered life. Our sicknesses and our failures and our fears seem to lead us beyond Jesus as if more important and practical considerations require our primary allegiance.
But Jesus is our focus. Jesus is our allegiance. Every day of the year we are to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2).
Jesus, I'm sorry for — being distracted and losing my focus upon Immanuel.
Jesus, it was wrong because — I know that true and abundant life is found only in Christ, my Savior.
Jesus, next time I will — surrender to your mercy my distractions and temptations to pursue lesser loves. I will seek the Spirit's gracious enabling to remain focused and centered in You.
Jesus, will you forgive me? Jesus, this Advent may I have a Do-Over to live my God-with-us life?
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)