Every year Christians prepare for the birth of Christ. We remember how Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph. We reflect on the beauty of the incarnation—God becoming human and dwelling among us. We often celebrate the greatest gift by giving gifts to one another. We do this every year. Advent helps us prepare for the birth of Christ again and again.
Advent isn’t just preparation to remember a past moment. It is also a season when we look forward in hope to the second coming of Christ. The incarnation is a sign and symbol of the willingness of God, the Creator of the universe, to enter into our lives. This willingness wasn’t just a one-time event. It changes everything for those of us who follow Jesus. Although this is a core focus of the Advent season, perhaps we ought to reflect on the second coming of Christ every day of our lives—not in trying to predict Christ’s return or attempting to read the “signs of the times” or using anything and everything as an excuse that confirms the end is near. Instead, we should seek to order our lives in preparation for the new heaven and the new earth toward which Scripture points us.
God’s willingness to come and to come again is an invitation to us to live as if God is here now. God-with-us isn’t a past experience or merely a future hope—it is a current reality. But to live this way requires that we respond to what God has already done, is doing, and will do; and it also requires a willingness to give ourselves fully to God.
This Advent season, as we remember the great gift of the incarnation and look forward to the return of our Lord and Savior and the renewal of all things, may we prepare by living faithfully and recognizing that all are invited to discipleship. May we participate in the redemptive work of God through the incarnation and in our anticipation of the culmination of God’s work in the world.
So come, peasant, king, and everyone—come and follow the one who was, who is, and who is to come. God is with us. Will the shape of our lives reflect this truth?
Olivia Craker Metcalf is a fourth-generation elder. She is the district superintendent of Upstate New York District, Church of the Nazarene. The above selection is an exerpt from her book, Come Peasant, King, and is used by permission of The Foundry Publishing, thefoundrypublishing.com
Holiness Today, November/December 2021
Please note: This article was originally published in 2021. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.