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The Journey of This Pilgrim, Part 7 - Advent Reflections

We are in the 2nd week of this Advent Season..a season I have loved and walked in for several decades of my life.  The story is profoundly simple:

Luke 2:8-14
8
 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”



Over the 1000's of years Israel's prophets had been told the day would come when the Messiah would come.  And then, suddenly, without warning, or public notice, God sends his Angel Gabriel to tell Mary that she would be the one to carry this special child.

Galatians 4:4
 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 


I don't know when it was that I began to comprehend the mystery and the majesty of the Incarnation.  The year I gave my life to Christ was 1970...it was the Fall of the year.  I remember being impacted by the simplicity and clarity of the Gospel - that Jesus Christ came into the world to die for my Sin... not "sins"...because I learned quickly that the issue isn't that I sin, the issue is my alienation from God because of my Sin Nature.

I became acutely aware that I was a sinner...one who actively, willingly, and commonly rebelled against God's holy character and through thoughts, words, and deeds Sinned!  My sin grew out of my Sin nature.  I also learned that it was a special character trait of mine; but a common human dilemma... we are created by God, but marred by our Sin nature.

I think that's where the first Christmas I celebrated - after becoming committed to following Christ Jesus -  began to work his Spirit's truth into my heart and mind.  Jesus is "Good News"...because he is the Savior...the one and only one who can take away my Sin.  He not only forgives me my "sins"; but he has acted to do something I could not do...he saves me from my SIN.  How?  He took My Sin upon himself... the Savior of all who would come to him for Salvation.

The Apostle Paul said it so well... 2 Corinthians 5:21 
 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 


Advent is upon us once again...it's now my 49th Advent season as a Christian.  Jack Brown in his poem on the birth of Christ says it well:

In our poverty of spirit
Christ arrived as God’s good Word;
(Grant us, God, good grace to hear it.)
Christ was born to be our Lord.

In the gloom of deep, dull darkness,
In the shade of endless night,
Jesus came a child, a baby,
Born to give us hope and light.

In the gloom of deep, dull darkness,
In the shade of endless night,
Jesus came a child, a baby,
Born to give us hope and light.

When we felt our hearts were broken,
Jesus met us face to face,
Loving us in word and token -
Born to give us peace and grace.

Wisest one of all the ages
Christ came here, a babe so small,
Early blessed by wizened sages,
Born to lead and bless us all.

- Jack Brown, "Born to Give Us Second Birth"

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