It’s the beginning of Advent. This time last year I embarked on a 23-day stint of writing here on my blog daily. 1st December 2015 was the day I was admitted to Southampton Hospital for an autologous stem cell transplant. From the day I went in I was looking forward to coming home, and wondered if I’d be home in time for Christmas.
This year, starting today, the first day of Advent, I want to try to write every day again. But this time, rather than writing about myself, I want to write about someone much more important – the one who puts the “Christ” in “Christmas” – Jesus Christ. He is “the reason for the season”, as they say.
Advent is traditionally the time we prepare to remember the coming of Jesus. Why do we need a season? Why do we need a run-up, a time to prepare? What’s the point of Advent? Why can’t we just celebrate on the 25th, like we do for other special days of celebration? Why do we have these Advent calendars that count down with a chocolate behind every door?
Well, it’s because long before Jesus Christ came, he was coming. His coming was foretold by the prophets. And the Jews had been looking forward to it for hundreds of years.
So over the course of Advent, I intend, God willing, to talk about 25 Bible verses – verses that show how Jesus Christ was foretold, show who he is and why he is so important; and verses that point to his return at the end of time. I hope it helps me, and you, to focus on Jesus, the “reason for the season” and the most important figure in human history.
One verse that sums up why Jesus was so important is this one: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
This points to the fact that Jesus is God’s Son, and it points to his mission being for us, human beings, so that we can avoid “perishing”. But more than that, he brings for us the possibility of eternal life.
We’ll unpack that a little over the coming days.