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Looking Forward By Looking Backward

The Roman Emperor Constantine, after his conversion to Christianity, designated Dec. 25 as the day for an observance of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Several centuries later believers identified the four Sunday’s before Christmas as a season they called ‘Advent.’ ‘Advent’ is a Latin word that simply means ‘to come.’ By setting aside these days prior to observing the birth of Christ, believers were to examine their hearts and lives and repent of sin, seek to order their lives around not just the first coming of Jesus, but His second coming.
We light candles on each Sunday of Advent representing the gradual dawning of the Light of the World, identified as the ‘bright morning star’ (Revelation 22:16).
Today’s candle reminds us of the many men and women in the Old Testament who looked for and longed for the arrival of God’s promised Messiah.
Listen as Jesus describes the role of a disciple as He is preparing them for His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension:
Matthew 24:36–44 HCSB
“Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son —except the Father only. As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be: Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and one left. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Though Jesus’ birth - His first arrival - had been written and spoken of centuries prior, no one knew the when. You remember that after Jesus was born, wise men from the east came looking for the One born King of the Jews and the surprise their request created among the Jewish leadership!
Jewish scholars identified the place where the Messiah would be born, but those scholars had no clue that Jesus, the Messiah, had been born!
In much the same way, we can read prophecies of Jesus’ return, but no one knows the ‘when’ - vs 36 - except the Father alone. Speculating is pointless.
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