Today is the second Sunday of Advent. Last week, I wrote the history, tradition, and significance of Advent season. Today, I will be talking about what we did for the second week of Advent. If you like, you can gather your family and join in the timeless tradition of Advent devotions.
Tonight, we lit the second advent candle, the Forgiveness Candle. This candle reminds us that Jesus came to us in order to bring forgiveness of our wrongdoings.
The Bible tells us that the reason that Jesus came to us was to glorify God (John 17:1). The primary way He did this was by reconciling the world to God. From the very first, people alienated themselves from God by disobeying God. God commands that we do all things good and right, as is outlined in the Bible and written in our consciences. But each one of us has violated that command. Because even the smallest wrongdoing completely dirties us before God, we are unable to enter his presence as we are. God is so completely holy that He does not tolerate the filth of unholiness. Because He is just, He requires punishment for wrongdoing– physical death and eternal separation from His presence after death. But because God loves us and desires to show His mercy to us, He decided to make a way for our relationship with Him to be repaired. He sent His Son, Jesus, to the world to take the punishment for our wrongdoing. Jesus was the only one who could take on every wrong ever committed and bear our punishment in our place, because He was the only man who ever lived a perfect life with no mistakes. When He died, God turned His back on him and let Him bear the pain of physical death and separation from His presence for a short time. But because Jesus is God, the power of evil and death had no hold over him. After a short time in the grave, Jesus rose again, this time with a body that would never be destroyed! If we repent of our wrongdoing and accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we too can live forever with God. Our wrongdoings– every single one of them– have already been paid for by Jesus. We can be forgiven.
Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is the celebration of the first spark of hope for forgiveness entering the world.
For today’s Advent devotional reading, you can read the following verses:
Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
Luke 1:68-79: “….for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of God…”
Because of the forgiveness of God, we no longer need to live with the burdens of guilt, of shame, or of fear. This freedom is the beautiful blessing of Christmas.