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Advent 2018: The Visited Planet

Nov 25, 2018   //   by Wade   //   Sermons  //  No Comments

With the arrival of November, we launch once again into what is affectionately known as “the Holiday Season.” Soon our calendars will fill up, our shopping lists will grow, and our energy will get poured into all the festivities and traditions that make this a magical (and hectic!) time of year. Underneath all the bustle, though, is a message. A strange and wonderful truth that can easily get lost in the noise of holiday festivities. In fact, it sometimes feels as though the bustle of the season is designed to distract us from the startling truth at the heart of Christmas: we live on the visited planet.

The visited planet. It’s a phrase from a short story written by JB Phillips back in 1957. In the story, Phillips imagines two angels in conversation. Together they look out across the vast universe, at endless galaxies and stars and suns, until the senior angel points to one small, insignificant planet. “That,” he says, “is the visited planet.” He goes on to tell his young colleague the shocking story: the Prince of Glory – ruler of all the universe – chose tiny, grubby earth to pay a personal visit.

Little Angel: “Do you mean to tell me, that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures on that floating ball?”

Senior Angel: “I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling
creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went
down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.”

The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.

Beyond comprehension. The arrival of God – Maker of all things – in the flesh. The Author of history, writing himself into the story. If we’ve never noticed how shocking the Christmas message really is, its only because we’ve never truly contemplated it. Why would God – the eternal “Prince of Glory” – stoop to visit our planet, taking on our weak humanity? Is it really true? And if so, what does it mean?

This Advent, we set aside the usual holiday platitudes, focusing our gaze instead on the holy
mystery of God’s visitation. Why did he come?

  • He came to show us who he is. History demonstrates that when we human beings guess about God, we tend to get him wrong. Jesus came as God’s own “self-introduction” to the world.
  • He came to show us another way. Jesus came to demonstrate, by his own life, what it looks like to live out God’s true intentions for humanity.
  • Finally, he came to save. The term “messiah,” (Luke 2:26), refers to the long-awaited king who would one day deliver God’s people – from injustice, from sin, and from death itself.

 

We live on the visited planet! I pray that our Advent worship this year moves us beyond the usual holiday noise, revealing instead the life-altering good news of God’s visitation. Come join us!

Dec 2 He Comes to Be Known
Exodus 33:12-18, Colossians 1:15-20
Dec 9 He Comes to Flip the Script
Isaiah 40:3-5, Luke 1:39-55
Dec 16 He Comes to Save
Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 1:14-17
Dec 23 Children’s Pageant and Carols
10:00 am Service
Dec 24 Candlelight Worship with Communion
6:00 pm & 11:00 pm
Dec 30 Year end Service of Testimony

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