I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Scott James’ book The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent.
Scott James serves as an elder at The Church at Brook Hills. He and his wife, Jaime, have four children—Will, Kirstine, Benjamin, and Bethan—who served as the inspiration and original audience for this Advent devotional. They live in Birmingham, Alabama, where Scott works as a pediatric physician. Scott serves in the children and youth ministries at Brook Hills and is passionate about helping families grow together in Christ. Scott’s most recent book is a great read for those desiring to make the Christmas season a time of worship.
We are a people of divided attention, and nowhere is this more evident than during the Christmas season. Despite our best intentions to focus on what really matters during the holidays, it’s easy to become distracted by the commotion and festivities.
The repeated refrain to “keep Jesus the reason for the season” wisely reminds us not to lose sight of Christ amidst everything else. As cliché as this phrase has become, we still do well to heed it. In attempting this, however, there is also a danger of narrowing our field of vision a bit too much. While celebrating the miraculous birth of the Christ Child, it’s possible to compartmentalize the nativity and, in doing so, diminish the cohesive beauty of the bigger redemptive picture. As wonderful and praiseworthy as the incarnation is, its significance is integrally tied to the rest of God’s story of redeeming love.
God didn’t just promise His people that a miracle child would be born. He also promised that this Child would grow up to be the loving Shepherd of His people, the place-switching Sacrifice, the resurrected Lord, and the righteous King who reigns in glory forever. But there is yet another promise: this King is coming back for His people!
As we celebrate the first coming of the Expected One during Advent, let’s also look forward in hopeful anticipation of His second coming. Let’s keep in mind the whole picture of who Jesus is, worshiping Him as the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to us, “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him” (2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB).
This Christmas, be careful not to stunt your worship through tunnel vision that fails to connect the nativity scene to the rest of the story. Prepare your heart to truly celebrate the glorious truth of the nativity by recognizing how the Christmas miracle fits into the larger scope of God’s redemptive promises. Meditate deeply on the salvation promised and provided by God through Jesus Christ, the long-expected Messiah, and keep that Jesus the reason for the season.
This was excerpted from The Expected One by Scott James.
Register to win 1 of 10 copies here or in the form below before 12:01am CT Thursday, November 12, 2015.
You can also purchase a copy at LifeWay.com, for yourself, your small group, or other ministries in your church.