Happy New Year! – Preparing and Waiting for Christ’s Return

Happy New Year! – Preparing and Waiting for Christ’s Return December 13, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia), has been the model for numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to help the poor and deprived worldwide — GFA shares on the Christian “happy new year”, the season of advent as we look back to the birth of Christ and anticipate His soon return.

“Happy New Year” might be a strange greeting to hear early in December, or even late November. But for many believers, the fourth Sunday prior to December 25th marks the beginning of what is known as the Church Calendar, which helps us to follow the seasons of our Savior’s life. The first season on this calendar (and the one which we are currently in the middle of) is Advent, which means “arrival” or “coming”.

Fully Entering into the Celebration

K.P. Yohannan shares on the Christian "happy new year", the season of advent, as we look to the birth of Christ & anticipate His soon return.As the journey begins anew with the start of the Church Calendar year, we are prompted to prepare a place in our hearts for the life of God in Christ Jesus, through entering into this season of preparation and anticipation. While it’s true that one doesn’t have to participate in the season, the immeasurable joy of finally celebrating Christmas Day will be that much more enhanced if, along with hundreds of millions of Christians, we intentionally prepare and join in the festivities.

So may I ask you, how do you do to prepare for Christmas? Of course, there are the plans for family gatherings, decorations, feasts and gift-giving that we all look forward to. This is my favorite time of year—maybe it’s yours too. But this time can be made even more precious and meaningful if we prepare our hearts and even our surroundings for the coming of Christ.

Advent: A Season of Preparation

You might be asking, “Where did the Advent season come from?” Since the Fourth century—before the Bible was later canonized (that is, made official)—the Advent season first appeared as a time of preparation for the baptisms that would take place on Epiphany (January 6th), a day that recognizes the Epiphany or “revealing” of Jesus at His baptism by St. John the Forerunner.

In light of this joyous, yet solemn occasion, a time of preparation for everyone was necessary: baptism is a corporate event for the whole congregation. As new Christians are welcomed into the Church, both they and the congregation make commitments to help each other live lives pleasing to God, knowing that Christ’s Advent—His “arrival” or “coming”—is at hand.

As years went by, colors and candles, wreaths, songs and other tangible symbols, traditions and practices were gradually incorporated into this special season of preparation to help us to both recognize the first coming of God—the Incarnation—and anticipate His promised, longed for return.

The Advent Wreath

One of these tangible symbols is the Advent wreath, which many families use at home as well as in the church. In lighting a new candle each week throughout Advent, we remember that the Christ broke through the darkness of the long wait for the Messiah, who came after the 400 years that exist between the book of Malachi and the first pages of the New Testament. The four outer candles of an Advent wreath symbolize this well and express the anticipation: with each candle that is lit from week to week, the light increases, reminding us that the Light of the World has come, is come, and will come again.

These four weeks of Advent have themes and specific Scripture readings and prayers that help lead us in preparation of the dual meanings of the birth of Christ and His soon return. Even the colors of the candles hold meaning—traditional purple candles, for instance, signify penitence and fasting, along with royal welcome.

The weekly themes—Hope, Love, Joy and Peace—are works of the Holy Spirit and are remembered each week. Progressively, one more candle is lit each week until at last all are aglow, building up to the lighting of the Christ Candle at the center of the wreath—which is finally lit on Christmas Eve, ending the season of Advent for the celebration of Christmas.

In homes all across the world, this wonderful Advent season is being celebrated for the very first time by people who are now enjoying new life in Christ through the gift of God’s grace shared with them in the past 12 months. Dining tables have new evergreen wreaths, representing the life of God that had no beginning, and the mercy He shares that never ends. Each evening, a child or another family member takes a turn to light a candle and read a verse or say a prayer. This special season is the perfect opportunity to tangibly practice our Christian faith all throughout the week, both at home and along with the rest of the Body of Christ on Sunday.

Staying in a State of Readiness

One of the many Advent readings that encourage our hope and help us on the journey as followers of God is the parable of the bridesmaids who anxiously await the coming of the Bridegroom (Matt 25:1-13). It reminds us to be ready to join with Him when He appears—even as the world, the forces of darkness and our own pride and sinfulness constantly attempt to pull and drag us from the narrow road. While we wait for Christ’s return, our most difficult challenge is to stay in a state of readiness. It is imperative to keep our minds fixed on things above in continued anticipation of our Lord’s return! Yet He gave us the example and power to do so, both through His indwelling Spirit and the practices of our faith that the church has handed down to us throughout the centuries.

When we intentionally align our lives with the rhythms and seasons of the Church Calendar, or practice something tangible—like lighting the candle of an Advent wreath—we take the opportunity to purposefully engage: to pause, refocus and fix our eyes upon our Savior once again as we await His triumphant return.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit! Amen.

About K P Yohannan

K.P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan), founder and director of GFA World (Gospel for Asia) and Metropolitan of Believers Eastern Church (BEC), has written more than 250 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.

About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In a typical year, this includes thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching to provide hope and encouragement in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit the Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com

Find out more about Gospel for Asia in the video “A Year in Review with K.P. Yohannan.”

Read what George Verwer, Francis Chan, Dr. David Mains and others have to say about GFA World.

Keep encouraged and get your regular dose of challenge through other articles on Patheos by KP Yohannan Metropolitan, or on his blog at kpyohannan.org.

You can learn more about K.P. Yohannan Metropolitan by clicking here.

Learn more about KP Yohannan, Founder of GFA World, and Metropolitan of the Believers Eastern Church: Facebook | Radio | Twitter | Amazon | Sermon Index | Goodreads | OnePlace | About | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | Book | Wikipedia | Francis Chan | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

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