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Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending 1

Lo! he comes with clouds descending,
once for favored sinners slain;
thousand, thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.

This Advent hymn composed by Charles Wesley in 1758 reminds us that Christmas is not the celebration of an innocent baby, mute and devoid of ideas. Instead, it marks the birth of the One who comes to make God known, the One who comes to tell us who He is: the messiah, our redeemer and judge who will reign on earth. It speaks of anticipating His glory and praise, His coming as the Son of God.

This is why we do not simply sing about a baby during the season of Advent. Instead, we sing about salvation “once for favored sinners slain.” Notice how different Advent carols are from Christmas ones. Advent carols speak of the cross. They prepare our hearts and minds to receive the very light of God into the darkest recesses of our being.
Advent is not simply about checking off our Christmas shopping list and finalizing our vacation plans. In fact, Advent is the antidote to the madness of the mall and the commercialized Christmas season.

Advent is a time for us to slow down, take stock of our lives, and decide how ready we are for the coming of Christ as the Messiah, Redeemer and Savior of the World. Are you ready to be one of those “thousand thousand saints” praising God and singing of His glory? Advent prevents us from rushing toward Christmas with no time to pause and no time to contemplate the mystery and wonder of His coming anew.

This Advent, may we not rush to Dec. 25, but instead spend time preparing ourselves for the One who desires to completely transform our lives.

This Advent, may we begin to cleanse, purify, and make ready our hearts, souls and minds a place for Christ to come once again.
The Rev. Chad T. Martin
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