You’re probably just as excited for 2020 to be over as I am. Christmas and New Year’s cannot come soon enough! I’m very ready for a fresh start! As much as we’d love to fast forward to 2021 (and probably even a little further than that if we’re being honest), I want to encourage you as much as possible to slow down during this season.

This year, more than any other, take intentional steps to engage with the Christmas story.

I truly believe God has some really special and powerful things planned for us as we get ready for the Advent of His Son, Jesus the Christ.

We recently started a three-week series in our student ministry on the significance of Christmas. It is our deep desire that our students would be able to enter into the anticipation and wonder of the birth of Jesus and that it would truly bring them joy, hope, and peace during a really trying time in their lives.

Couldn’t we all use an extra helping of those things right about now?

Here is the journey we took. Hopefully it can encourage and remind you of the significance of this season as well.

In order to slow down and enter in, we have to go back to the beginning where the anticipation first starts to build.

The promise of Jesus’ coming starts all the way back in the first few pages of the Bible – when God proclaims that a future seed of Eve will crush the deceptive serpent (Genesis 3:15).

From there, we follow the rest of the story of the Old Testament, seeing the corruption of mankind go deeper and deeper and the state of God’s people seemingly become more and more helpless. Along the way though, we continue to see glimmers of hope, like God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and that through his seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Jacob receives the same promise.

Later, the people are told a prophet like Moses would come from among their own family line, speaking the words of God to them. Yahweh makes an astounding promise to King David – that his seed would have an eternal kingdom and would reign on his throne forever. Even the prophets, in the middle of Israel’s mess, look forward to a future Messiah who would come and deliver them.

Despite the wandering, the lawless behavior, and even the captivity of God’s people, there are signs along the way of a solution to their problems. All throughout the Old Testament, the redemption of God’s people is foreshadowed.

After tracing the story of the promised seed, we opened up to Matthew 1:1, the very first verse in the New Testament, which reads: “This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Why should we care about an ancient genealogy? Why should we spend time reading Matthew 1 with all of its hard-to-pronounce names of this father and that father?

The first verse in the New Testament tells us why –  because Jesus the Messiah is the son of David and the son of Abraham. The seed that has been anticipated for thousands of years has finally arrived. The snake crusher from Genesis 3, the descendant of Abraham who will bless the nations from Genesis 12 and 22, the Davidic King who will reign forever from 2 Samuel 7, is finally here.

Despite the unfaithfulness of His people, God remained faithful to His promises. The wait is over. Deliverance and redemption have come in the person of Jesus Christ.

Just as we encouraged our students to do, I want to encourage you to do too: Slow down and join in on the anticipation of the Advent of Jesus.

Don’t let this season come and go without spending time in joyful expectation of Christmas Day. For it is on Christmas that we find a beautiful and glorious answer to our greatest longings. Two thousand years ago in a Bethlehem manger, our long awaited Savior was born. Praise the Lord!

I am praying for you and your family – that you would be able to experience the awe of this season and soak in every ounce of hope, peace, joy, and love that the long expected Jesus has to offer. 

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

In Him,

Ryan Berkman
Student Ministries Pastor

P.S. If there is a way I can be praying for your student or for your family, please let me know! Sarah and I would love to praying for you!

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