Dec 15, 2017

The Savior Comes

By Leah Sherman


Hark the glad sound! The Savior comes!

So begins another Advent. Another season of waiting and preparing; decorating and baking; shopping and wrapping, all to make our homes and hearts ready for the advent of our King. What a marvelous thought--the King is coming!

We begin our preparations, keeping at the forefront of our minds what we ought and ought not do. We ought not be stressed as we set up the tree and hang the lights. We ought not be impatient with cashiers ringing up our purchases. We ought not let the pressure of hand-addressing our Christmas letters allow us to lose sight of holiday spirit. We ought to smile at the workers stocking the shelves, we ought to take cookies to the shut-ins, we ought to share a kind word with grouchy neighbors--all to spread a little Christmas cheer. But if we believe Christ came solely to make the season merry and bright, we make Him out to be nothing more than a jovial spirit. Indeed, He becomes indistinguishable from the jolly Santa Claus bringing gifts and wishing all a good night.

Christ was not incarnate merely to make our holiday shopping less stressful, or our winter season jolly. Christ was incarnate because of the total depravity of our lives and hearts. Our sin tears apart our lives, our relationships, and our joy. We live in a deep, unending darkness that threatens to smother us at any moment. “Sin’s dreadful doom upon us lies; grim death looms fierce before our eyes” (“O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide,” Lutheran Service Book (LSB) 355, st.  6). Unless God comes to save us, we are lost eternally.

Hark the glad sound! The Savior comes!

This child who came is God made flesh. God, who plagued the Egyptians to free his people from slavery; God, who led his people through the wilderness by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; God, who drove out the nations from Canaan to give his people an inheritance. This God was born a child not to be a reminder of sweet bygone times, but to bear the weight of the world’s sin and die in shame, nailed to a cross, for the sake of His people, His chosen ones.

With Isaiah, our prayer this Advent is that God would rend the heavens and come down. “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. . . . Behold, please look, we are your people” (Isaiah 64:4, 9b).

At His coming, sin, death, and the power of devil are put to flight, for “He comes to judge the nations, a terror to His foes” (“O Lord, How Shall I Meet You,” LSB 334, st. 6). “He comes the prisoners to release, in Satan’s bondage held . . . He comes the broken heart to bind, the bleeding soul to cure” (“Hark the Glad Sound,” LSB 349, st. 2, 3). “He comes to make His blessing flow far as the curse is found” (“Joy To the World,” LSB 387, st. 3).

Christ’s coming is so much richer than any sentiment that could be written on a bumper sticker or hung in a window. Christ’s salvation is so complete, so full, so everlasting, that our hearts are moved to a joy beyond comparing. “He comes for you, procuring the peace of sin forgiven” (“O Lord, How Shall I Meet You,” LSB 334, st. 5). “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Is. 35:10).

As you prepare this Advent for the coming of your Savior, ponder the words of the Scripture readings and Advent hymns. See in them all the fullness of the joy that is yours because Christ has come for you, and will come again for you.

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple set apart
From earthly use for heav’n’s employ,
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.
So shall your Sov’reign enter in
And new and nobler life begin.
To God alone be praise
For word and deed and grace!
(“Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates,” LSB 340, st.4).


***

Leah Sherman is a pastor's wife and homeschooling mother.  She and her husband have struggled with secondary infertility, but are constantly reminded of God's great blessings through their son. She lives in Gordon, Nebraska, and enjoys reading, gardening, and sewing.


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