Around Thanksgiving time, our boys started to ask us how many days it was until Christmas.  With 3 of our 4 boys old enough to talk, we got tired of answering that question, so finally Crystal made a chain out of construction paper that we hung from the ceiling and we let the boys take turns taking a link off each day.  Now when they want to know how long it is before Christmas, they can just look at the chain.
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Today Christmas is looked upon with much anticipation- especially among children who expect to get gifts.  Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, instead of looking forward to Christmas, those who believed God were looking forward to the promised Messiah- the Christ.  There was so much anticipation for His coming that when John the Baptist came, some wondered if he might be the Christ.
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Today Christmas has become so commercialized that rather than anticipating Christ, many just anticipate the presents and the celebration.  The word “advent” literally means the arrival of something important or awaited.  The boys are awaiting the arrival of their presents and another chance to go to Grandma’s house, but as we consider Christmas, should we be anticipating the arrival of Christ?
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Jesus Christ has already come and was born in Bethlehem so we are not looking forward to His birth this “advent” season.  Instead we are looking back on what happened a couple of thousand years ago.  The angel declared in Luke 2:11-12, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
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So what should we be anticipating as we reflect on Christmas if Jesus has already come?  When He was born, an angel announced His birth.  Now consider the announcement that was made as Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection.  “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 10-11)
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We do not know when Jesus will come back.  As we look forward to Christmas, we know we are celebrating the fact that Jesus has already come and been born into this world, but we should also be anticipating His return.  That anticipation should not just occur at Christmas though.  Even the observance of the Lord’s Supper is a reminder that Jesus will come back.  Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.”
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For those who have believed on Jesus as Lord and Savior, the advent of His return is comforting.  “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)   For those who have not believed, His return should be frightening.  “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)  Jesus is no longer a little baby in a manger.  He is a resurrected savior who is preparing a place for those who believe on Him and who will punish those who will not believe.  We all have reason to anticipate His return- believe on Him and His return will be worth looking forward to.