Advents and Bethlehem Ephrathah

This week we (Christians) celebrate the “first advent” of Jesus Christ. Think of an advent as a “coming.” Jesus has two comings or two advents…

Advent Two

The second advent or His “second coming” will be at the end of the age. This is when everything as we know it will end, ushering in the new age (after judgement). Jesus fleshed this out when He explained what He had meant when He had told His disciples that the kingdom of heaven was like a man who sows the good seed in his field…

Matthew 13:36-43 (HCSB)
Then He dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field to us.” He replied: “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; and the good seed — these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!

Advent One

The first advent (which is what we acknowledge on Christmas), was announced by an angel to Joseph…

Matthew 1:18-21 (HCSB)
The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

Bethlehem Ephrathah

Being that we are now in the heart of the Christmas season, opportunities to share about Christ (who He is and what He did) is usually more frequent at this time of year. For most of my life, I knew that Christmas was Christmas because of someone named Jesus. But, because I never grew up going to church and I was never really exposed to or given clarity about who He is, His coming into our fallen world never made much sense to me until my conversion as an adult at age 33. That first Christmas back in 2001, as a believer, is something which always hits my memory whenever I come across this verse in Micah. It’s the Christmas story prophesied in one verse…

Micah 5:2 (HCSB)
Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.

Maybe you can use it to encourage someone to consider the “One” who came from “Bethlehem Ephrathah” as a baby, whose “origin is from antiquity, from eternity,” “to be ruler over Israel,” and save the world. May we rejoice this week as we remember and share about the first advent, and may we also pray that those who don’t know Christ Jesus have ears that they should listen…

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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