I have a strange fascination with glittery, schmaltzy knick knacks. I harken this bizarre behaviour to my grandmother on my mother’s side who every Christmas filled her small north end home with every Santa clause candle, gothic angel ornament and all green plastic plants sufficed for a mistletoe. So at Christmas I am in danger of being drawn to these kinds of things in stores mainly out of nostalgia, mercifully my practical wife curbs my enthusiasm before we get to the till. But one Christmas I was left alone to wander through a store that was filled with Christmas decor…I bought and I bought. Some things were returned as their existence could not be properly explained but one thing remained…a wooden advent calendar brightly painted like a Christmas tree. I never had one of these growing up and I loved it! Behind each door was a small space to stuff chocolates and other treats and this calendar has been a delight for our children now for nearly 8 Christmas’. Its a little worse for wear, the box containing December 4 has mysteriously broken off, whether by the dog gnawing on it or one of the children using the solid wood structure as a hammer, we’re not sure. Nonetheless, this advent calendar will need to be replaced at some point. It is great, but not the greatest.
I heard a sermon recently where the preacher said ‘The Old Testament is the greatest advent calendar of all time’. No glitter, no schmaltz, no little boxes? The Old Testament is the greatest advent calendar???!…it makes sense once you stop to think about it doesn’t it? As we recently heard in Genesis 3:15 God promised that One would come who would crush the serpent, the enemy of our souls and people have been wondering who this might be ever since. When ever a new leader or king would arrive—they would open the advent box of history and ask—‘Is this the one?’, this would go on for generation after generation, ‘is this the one? Is this the one?’. But every leader, every prophet, every judge left something to be desired, little did they know but they were pointing forward to the ultimate answer to the promise in Genesis.
The apostle Paul takes his listeners on a history lesson, unpacking all the ‘advent boxes’ in the old testament basically stating that these were looking forward to the ultimate king, “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” (Acts 13:32-33a).
For this advent season, we are going to spend time in the greatest advent calendar of all time—the Old Testament!
We will hear about the Seed that is to come (Genesis 3:15).
We will hear about a Star that is to rise (Numbers 24:17)
We will read about a Sign that was to come (Isaiah 9:1-7)
We will consider a Stump that will produce a vine from God (Isaiah 11:1-2).
So join us live or online each Sunday as we open up a new box of this great advent calendar as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child.