Because It Is Now Officially Time To Start Thinking About These Things
Okay, so it’s official now. The Christmas catalogues are coming in the mail. Every year, the Christmas season seems to be stretched longer and longer by beginning earlier and earlier. I know that when I do my happy housewife grocery shopping today, I’m going to find all the nostalgic Christmas candies, along with the new wannabes, decorations, and an expanded toy isle. The leaves are still half-clinging to the trees with the most vibrant colors I’ve seen in years, and yet I’m being pressured that I only have seven more shopping weekends until Christmas. Forget about Thanksgiving, all the anticipation is directed towards December 25th.
And I’ve already received my first Christmas gift. I have to say that it was the best book review package I’ve ever received. Scott James knows how to do Christmas. First of all, it’s pretty much always great to get something from the UPS man. The other day, I opened up a confetti-filled package containing his new book The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent, some hot chocolate, sugar cookie mix, and a cute Christmas tree cookie-cutter. My kids were pretty jealous. But they will be partaking in all the elements of this gift (except the confetti!).
The best part of my early Christmas present is that it calmed my anxieties over anticipating Christmas. A woman jumps through many baking, shopping, decorating, choir concert, picture-taking, card-sending, and celebrating hoops to get to Christmas. But this wonderful devotional book has me excited again and puts the anticipation in the right place.
I love the focus and organization of this book. It's madeup of short, daily devotions staring with December 1st and ending on Christmas day. The devotions are organized into 6 aspects of God’s promises concerning the Son:
The Promise of His Coming
The Promise of His Birth
The Promise of His Life
The Promise of His Death
The Promise of His Resurrection
The Promise of His Eternal Reign
Focusing on the promises of God reminds us just how faithful he is. It’s really quite amazing how James pulled it off. It’s a tiny little book, very unintimidating to take on for leading family devotions. To pass along the words of my husband’s endorsement, “This book is doable.” And yet everyday there is different Old Testament passage highlighting God’s promise of our Redeemer. The “Review and Reflect” questions that go with the passages and short summaries are simple, yet reflective for both small children and mature adults.
He who promised is faithful. And this Advent season, as we contemplate the anticipation of the Old Testament saints waiting for the promised Messiah, we are confident in the promise of his second coming. Because God was faithful in sending His Son, because Christ was faithful to live a righteous life and bear the wrath of God for our sin, and because the Holy Spirit is faithful in applying that work to his beloved, we know he will be faithful to come for his bride. Because God accepted Christ’s sacrifice, as evidenced in his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, we also look forward to our resurrected, glorified bodies on the new heaven and new earth. And so James concludes his wonderful book with an epilogue summarizing the fulfillment of God’s promises as told in the gospel and what all those who trust in him can anticipate. He ends with an exciting and poignant question, “Are you expecting him?”