A chapel message delivered to St. Abraham’s Classical Christian School, December 2, 2013
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”
You are Christians. This means you’re disciples of Jesus Christ. You have been baptized. God’s brand is on you. This means you’re trusting in Jesus Christ and him alone (at least, you’d better be). Jesus saves us. We can’t save ourselves.
This brings us to Advent. Advent isn’t the same thing as Christmas. Christmas is the day (Dec. 25) on which we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. But Advent is the entire season during which we celebrate Jesus’ coming into the world as a baby in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. So, Christmas is one day. But Advent is several weeks.
But why celebrate Advent at all? Why should you celebrate Advent?
Let me tell you why. But you won’t understand why until you understand how to look at the world as a Christian. You’re not too young to understand how to think as a Christian. In fact, you must start thinking as a Christian right now.
First, you must understand creation. God created the universe in six days. He created the earth and sun and moon and stars and planets. He created the oceans and dry land. He created vegetation: trees and plants and grasses. He created all animals — fish, birds and beasts. Last of all he created man and woman, Adam, and Eve, and he placed them in a lovely garden. He made them in his own image. This means that they model him. We as humans can talk to God. We can reason like God (never as good as he can, of course). We know right from wrong. We are moral creatures. We were made sinless. We were made to share fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit forever. In fact, this is why God created man and woman: to share the fellowship of the Trinity.
But, second, man and woman sinned. This is called the Fall. They ate the fruit that God had forbidden. They sinned. What is sin? Sin is breaking God’s law. God gave man his law so man could be happy. God knows what makes us happy — since he created us, he knows! His law, his ways, make us happy. But Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, Satan, who lied to them. He led them to rebel against God. They broke God’s law, and his heart. Their sin broke fellowship with God. That’s what man’s sin does: we rebel, we lie, we cheat, we say cruel things to the people that love us, we disobey our parents and teachers, we think about evil things, we are lazy, we try to get revenge on people that hurt us, we don’t care about prayer and God’s word. This is sin.
This sin brought down God’s judgment on Adam and Eve. Sin always brings judgement. Sin is so bad that God must punish it. God punished Adam and Eve in various ways.
We were born as sinners too, just like Adam and Eve became sinners. We, too, are born under God’s judgment. This is why people die and go to hell — they are sinners.
Sin is a poison. Maybe you’ve known of someone who was poisoned. They often must go to the hospital. If the poison isn’t gotten out of their body, they might die. Poison destroys life.
Sin the poison that destroys eternal life. It breaks our fellowship with God. It makes us think evil, cruel thoughts. It makes us hurt each other, lie to each other, cheat each other, make fun of each other. It makes us mistreat animals. Sin is terrible. It’s the poison in God’s good world. If this were the end of the story, our story would have a very sad ending.
Sin is also darkness. Have you ever stumbled and fallen in a dark room? Sin causes us to stumble and fall and do terrible things. Because of the darkness of our hearts, we can’t even see how bad we really are. We think we’re fine, but we’re not. Sin is poison, and sin is darkness.
But that’s not the end of the story. The third fact we need to know is redemption. God didn’t leave Adam and Eve and all of us in our sin. He set a plan in motion to heal us from the poison, to get rid our our hearts of darkness. That plan is Jesus Christ. God sent his Son to earth to live a life without sin. But he mostly sent Jesus to die on the Cross in our place and to rise from the dead to gain victory over sin. You see, since God must punish sin, he had to punish someone. Instead of punishing us sinners, he sent his own Son to earth to punish him in our place. Can you imagine how much God the Father loved us to send his own Son to die for us?
The Bible (in Malachi) teaches that Jesus was to come as the sun to shine in our sinful darkness and to heal us from our sin. He gets rid of the darkness, and he heals us.
When we put all of our trust in Jesus, and not in ourselves, God saves us. He heals us. He shines his light in our hearts. We are saved by faith. This means that we don’t trust ourselves. We put our trust in Jesus Christ. When we do that, our lives will never be the same. We’ll still have to fight sin, but we’ll fight it as healed people. We’ll still be near the darkness, but now we’ll be walking in the light.
This is what we celebrate at Advent: creation (God made everything), fall (man sinned), and redemption (Jesus healed man’s poison and got rid of man’s darkness).
This Advent season, let’s remember that God in Jesus has called us to walk as healed people, to walk in the light. To pray to our Lord who loves us. To read his word, the Bible. To obey our parents and teachers. To help one another. To be faithful to his church. To tell other people the gospel, the good news we already know.
Advent is all about celebrating Jesus coming into the world to get rid of the poison and the darkness. Whenever we look around at the poison and darkness, we can still be happy. We know that God is using Jesus Christ to heal the poison and get rid of the darkness.