Summary: 2nd in series on Advent Wreath - Sermon focuses on ’preperation’. Prophecy of OT fulfilled in Jesus.
Advent 2: Preparation
Today, we celebrate the 2nd week in the Advent season. We continue with our sermon series on the Advent wreath. Last week, we talked about the first candle and its’ representation of Hope. This week, we will look at the 2nd candle which represents preparation.
Many of us go through our own version of preparations to get ready for the Christmas holiday. We set-up Christmas trees and decorate them with lights, fancy ornaments and perhaps a star on top. We purchase gifts for our loved ones in honor and remembrance of the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men. We may even put decorations on our laws of a nativity set or other Christmas cheer. We prepare for the holiday by setting many physical reminders of Christmas all around us.
But, we are not alone in the preparations. Department stores, malls and shopping centers all have their own activities to get ready for Christmas. Some set up extravagant trees decorated with colorful balls and tinsel. Others have large wreaths hanging on walls and from ceilings. Santa and snowmen, ice skating and caroling are all a part of the celebration. We all have our own way of preparing for Christmas.
But, God had his own way of preparing. His preparations took longer than a day or a week. His preparations required thousands of people and centuries to complete. He sent the savior into the world at a specific time of his choosing, to a specific woman with her betrothed. A certain town, in a certain country, at a certain time to a certain family. There was nothing by chance as to when, where, who and to whom the coming messiah would arrive in this world. It was not an accident that this all occurred that this moment in history. It was not a fleeting response to a nice situation, but a meticulously planned event that was designed to change the history of the world. The coming of the Christ was well rehearsed, projected centuries earlier and all by the knowing hand of God. He had this idea from the very beginning.
In the Beginning
As early as the book of Genesis, God already had a plan for the future. Our earliest ancestors, Adam and Eve, fell into sin in the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t until this sin that a plan of salvation was needed. After all, the sinless do not need to be saved. It is only the sinner who has been condemned. But, as soon as God had man and women admit to their error, God already had a plan for renewal. Through the coming savior, all mankind would have hope for the future and rescue from damnation. Preparations were already being made to save a world full of souls that hadn’t even been born yet. Here, in the Garden of Eden, God spoke of the coming savior. He said to the serpent:
“I will put an enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
The woman spoken of here is Eve. This was not a chance occurrence, but the beginning preparations for the coming Messiah. This earliest of prophecies spoke of an offspring, it spoke of our coming Lord and savior.; preparations for Jesus who would come centuries later. The plan was already created and set into motion from the very first sin.
But, the coming Messiah would not have had the same impact to us if he had come immediately in Eden. We needed to learn about ourselves. God saw this and built time into the preparations. The God fearing Israelites needed to grow before they could receive the Christ. They had to explore their world and explore their faith before the world was ready for Jesus. Although the elements were present in the Garden of Eden, time was a tool that worked towards God’s plan. God chose to use this time to institute some of his prophecies to show His people the truth. After all, Adam and Eve were given the pleasure of being able to talk directly with God. The spoke with God, not in prayer, but just as I am speaking to you. They didn’t pray to God, they conversed with Him. As time moved forward, God used his prophets to write down the events of the future. I’m sure God intended to show us His truth by allowing us to compare the prophecies with the actual events. God used time, and the prophets as tools. In this way, scripture validates itself and His plan is revealed. In fact, much of the Old Testament is a story of a people not yet ready to receive the coming Messiah. God chose the time, the place, and the players who would be involved with the nativity.