When waiting turns into joy

As parents wait for the birth of their child the excitement builds. It is a time of intensity: the child will change their life completely. It is similar with the weeks leading up to Christmas. It is an intense time of commemorating the birth of the Son of God and of expecting His return.

Three Sundays of Advent, then Christmas, then New Year’s Eve: December is a peak season for special divine services. The topic that brings them all together this year is “Expectation”.

From a liturgical point of view, the theme of expectation is not limited to the Advent season. In terms of salvation history, expectation is always part of a Christian’s life. Being a Christian and expectation belong together like a picture and a frame. And a Christian who stops expecting will find his hope slipping away. Expectation also gives rise to a spirit of profession: the historic faith as recorded in the Bible is also professed by the Christian. Faith in the incarnation of God is always worth sharing with others. However, the longing for the coming kingdom of God is much more intensive and alive! The expectation of Christ’s return must be expressed, and this is exactly what will happen in the New Apostolic services in December.

Jesus is God

The first Sunday in December is also the second Sunday of Advent. The sermon will revolve around the special relationship of the Son of God with His Father. We Christians sometimes tend to consider the Father and the Son separately. But that is not the idea of the Trinitarian confession. In fact, the Son is equal to the Father: both are the one God. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,” it says in Colossians 1: 15. The doctrine of the dual nature of Jesus transcends the horizon of human imagination and experience. It is a mystery (CNAC 3.4.3).

Does such faith have consequences? Yes, it certainly does, because for believers this means that although they regard Jesus as a friend and brother, they must not overlook His divinity. A truism? Not quite because all to often the man Jesus is reduced to His human nature—as was the case during His time one earth. We need to be careful. Like the Father, the Son is eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient. The creation is the work of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. For Christians today this means: we may regard Jesus as a faithful friend, but we must never forget that He is also and above all God the Son, to whom honour and praise are due!

Jesus is man

In the very beginning, there was the Word, the Logos, which is how the gospel of John describes the starting point. This eternal word was made flesh and became part of the world, part of all people of all times. Jesus was born a man so that people could understand what the plan of God means for them. For Jesus, who is also God, had come to die for the salvation of mankind and to make eternal fellowship with God possible for them. This understanding is also a very old confession of all Christians: His death is our death, His resurrection is our resurrection, His ascension is our ascension. Still pending is His return, which we are hoping and waiting for.

Jesus is salvation

„“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15: 13). What a wonderful thought: hope brings joy and peace in faith! This will be the topic on the fourth Sunday of Advent, hope in the returning Christ. New Apostolic Christians live in the certainty that the end of history has already been decided and can be sure that no historical event can call into question the return of Christ. Hope in salvation brings peace, because it can free one from worries about the future. Evil will be defeated once and for all. In the new creation everything will be perfect and all human beings will fulfil the will of God. This brings joy to our hearts already today!

Photo: Natalia - stock.adobe.com

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Peter Johanning
Divine service