Tonight we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. The Advent, or the Season of Coming, is the official beginning to Christmas. It is a time to prepare ourselves, and to contemplate the joyous reason we come together to celebrate each year.
During this time, we should take some time to think about the people of Ancient Israel, and what it was they were feeling. They were waiting for their Messiah, the one who was anointed of God, to save them from what was a horrible time politically. Jerusalem was occupied by the Romans and everywhere they turned were Roman guards, soldiers and governors. They had been waiting for their Savior, a Messiah to come to rid them of these foreign invaders. What they weren’t expecting was the fulfillment of the prophecies to take the form of a newborn baby. It isn’t difficult to understand why so many of them couldn’t and wouldn’t believe.
I found this explanation of the name of God in a book I was reading, so bear with me. It’s beautiful. I’ll condense it down as much as I can. The ancient name of God in the Hebrew scriptures is Yahweh. It means “The Holy One of Israel”. The term for “Holy” is kadosh in Hebrew, and it means “that which is so far above man and woman kind, so distant and beyond our understanding, so heavenly and unapproachable”. It literally means “beyond the beyond, never near us. The term “of Israel” means “right here in town”. That breaks down to “The Most Distant One is here in town with us, always.” Isn’t that awesome? Another Biblical word for the “One That Is Coming”, the Messiah, is Emmanuel, which means “God With Us”. The genius that is behind Hebrew theology is the ability to see God in our very midst, locally and to become committed to it. Jesus, then, as being referred to as the “Son of the Most High,” Emmanuel, becomes God In Our Midst!
I just thought that was so beautiful and such an awesome thought for this first night of Advent.
Emmanuel – God With Us! God Bless You and Merry Christmas.