At Jesus' birth, the angels heralded the news of his arrival. They gave a royal announcement, saying, "The King has come! And he is bringing the peace—the shalom—that the world once enjoyed!" One day, when our King returns, that promise of peace will be fulfilled, and all will be as it was created to be.
Sometimes, though, it is difficult to trust that promise will actually be fulfilled. It is in those times that we must look not only to what our King will accomplish but to what he has already accomplished in his death and resurrection. The cross and the empty tomb testify that not only does our King love us enough to bring the peace he promises to but is powerful enough to do so, as well.
The angels declare to the shepherds that they have "good news of great joy." Oftentimes, we assume that following Jesus as Lord means sacrificing joy and happiness, when, in fact, just the opposite is true. The Christian experience is not the denial of happiness, but the temporary denial of things that only pretend to provide happiness. We are made with a desire for deeper joy than the trivial things of this world can satisfy, and in Christ, God made a way for that desire to be fulfilled.
Whenever an important event is on the calendar, you spend a lot of time preparing for it. Whether you're getting ready for your wedding, the birth of a child, a big move—whatever it is, you invest a lot of time and energy into things that deserve it. The return of our Savior is a significant event, and so we are called to eagerly prepare for it through repentance. We turn to Christ as our King so that we may live with him forever, under his gracious reign, in his perfect Kingdom.
We're now in the middle of the first week of Advent, in which we focus on the hope that is promised in the coming of Jesus, both his Incarnation and his Return. During this week, seek out opportunities to remember the promises of God and the assurance and hope we have in them because of Jesus.
Derived from the Latin adventus, meaning "coming," Advent is a time to look back to the First Coming of our Lord so that our hearts can be re-centered and re-focused on his Second. By remembering the season of hopeful waiting that God's people lived in leading up to Jesus' birth, we are reminded of the hope that awaits us as week look ahead to his return.