One of the interesting things about marking advent is the two-fold nature of the wait: the already and the not yet. Advent means "arrival" and it's a season to remember the first time Jesus came, but also to prepare for the Second Coming.
Advent marks the days until we celebrate Jesus' birthday, recounting the events 2000 years ago and Israel's long wait for the Messiah's arrival. Jesus came the first time as a baby in the manger. Emmanuel, God in the flesh. He fulfilled the promises made to Israel to send the Messiah.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 (New International Version)
'The days are coming,' declares the Lord 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; He will do what is just and right in the land.
"In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.'
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
But Advent also looks toward the return of Messiah, and his second coming is fearsome. It will be Judgment Day. The Gospels enjoin us to be watchful. Mark 13 paints an awesome picture of Jesus second coming. Matthew 25 encourages us to keep watch and be ready for His return. His first coming was to make a way for us in the second coming. Jesus gave Himself as God in the flesh so that when He comes again, His righteousness will deliver those who call Him Lord from the judgment we would otherwise deserve. And He will receive all the honor and worship due Him for His first coming and the redemption He bought for His children. At that time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, and He is glorious.
"Mild He laid His glory by" the first time. The next time He comes will not be mild and His glory will be evident to everyone. The baby in the manger is the coming King . Stay alert. Be ready. Use this Advent to remind yourself that He is coming again.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!