God has designed us to love stories, and there's one story that He's going to use to thrill our hearts forever. This story, often called the gospel is what the Bible tells us about. However, the story of the gospel does not begin halfway through that book.
The story originated in a garden sanctuary in a land called Eden in ancient days. It continued to be told through a people called Israel, set apart by God to image Him to the rest of the nations. Then, over two thousand years ago, a Jewish child named Yeshua was born in adverse conditions and in the midst of marital scandal.
Today, we know this child as Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian church worldwide remembers Jesus' birth and life in a season called Advent. Advent is a term originally derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming" or "arrival". Not only do we remember His first coming, but we also seek to joyfully anticipate His return.
The author of Hebrews says: "Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:28 ESV)
For a day will come when the lowly baby in the feed trough will arise to rule over the nations from Jerusalem. We do well to remember His first coming and to heed the words of the Prophets, as Peter said: "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises." (2 Peter 1:19 NIV)
This year, Advent runs from Sunday, November 27th through Saturday, December 24th.
As I have the past several years, I'm publishing a brief guide and reading schedule that includes short episodes from my Opening Up the Gospels video series to help fellow believers remember and anticipate Jesus during Advent.
The reading schedule includes both Old Testament and New Testament readings and returns to the story of Jesus' birth each Sunday. Short videos about the story of His birth are on the schedule for you to view throughout the week.
I hope you find this guide helpful as we ponder and anticipate Jesus' coming together.
Download the 2016 Advent Guide (692 KB)
If you'd prefer a different reading schedule, check out these YouVersion Advent Bible reading reading plans. Also, check out Good News of Great Joy from Desiring God for more Advent devotional readings.