Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning coming or arrival, which is a translation from the Greek parousia) is part of the larger season in the Christian year, an aspect of the church’s gathered worship leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas.
Although not a biblical mandate for the church, Advent has been and remains an important aspect for many churches for most of Christian history. In fact, according to the Christian year, Advent marks the beginning for the people of God in their annual calendar, not January 1. Our lives are not only lived between Christ’s first and second comings, they are also marked, formed and shaped by His two comings.
It is a time to remember the birth of Christ (Matt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:5-2:20; Gal. 4:4), the time at which the promises for the Messiah in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ (cf. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; 9:2-6; Mic. 5:2).
It is a time to ponder the person of Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1-18; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 3:16).
It is a time to look ahead to the time when Christ will return in great power and glory (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Rom. 1:4) to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:8; cf. 1 Thess. 4:15).
This year’s Advent Devotional will focus on The Gospel of Luke and the Songs of Christmas. We will highlight four songs “sung” by four key people surrounding the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the God-man, the truth we celebrate at Christmas, yet experience every day throughout the year. These four songs will contain an introduction and a conclusion, making this a six-part devotional.
These devotionals will be posted on my blog. With the exception of the first post, which will be on the 27th, marking the beginning of the Advent season, I will publish them on the Friday before the Sunday reading. The final reading will be both a concluding post to our Advent Devotional and a preparation for the beginning of the new year.