Advent: Looking back to look forward

Read on for the second installment in our Advent series. This time we hear from Meg Haden, City Church's Director of Women's Ministry... If you grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, you will remember the iconic scenes: the little but loved Christmas tree; Snoopyʼs antics; dancing in the school auditorium; and Linus reciting the story of the “shepherds in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night...” One of my favorite moments is when all the Peanuts Gang throw their heads back and sing with gusto, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Itʼs a beautiful sight (in a cartoon kind of way).

The beauty of this moment is not that the Christmas pageant will be a success, that the scrawny Christmas tree was loved, or that Charlie Brown got over his issues. The beauty is in the truth of what these familiar cartoon characters are proclaiming: “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

Itʼs easy to think that Christmas is only about Jesusʼs birth in a manger in Bethlehem but songs like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” teach us why Jesusʼ birth is so important to celebrate and remember.

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings Ris'n with healing in His wings Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"

Jesus was born so that he could die and rise. He was born so that he could give us new life and raise us from the dead--He came to earth so that we might be able to come to Him.

This Christmas, the importance of Christʼs resurrection and the resurrection he promises for us has a deeper meaning. In March, my husband and I experienced grief and death in a very personal way when his mother passed away. We have found deep comfort knowing that her hope and our hope lies in the future resurrection and restoration that Jesus will bring for all of us. We must look backwards and forwards to find this comfort of life in Christ. We look to the past--to the historical birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus--and we look to the future when Jesusʼs promise to complete it all comes true.

In this season of Advent--of waiting, expecting, hoping--we remember Jesus, our living and loving Savior. We look ahead longing to see the work he began at Christmas thousands of years ago come to completion when he returns. Itʼs not unlike how we celebrate our own birthdays--we look back and reflect on the past year(s) but we also look ahead to next years full of promise, hope, and expectation. So, letʼs celebrate Jesusʼs birthday in its fullness.