Advent: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and I woke with Jesus on my mind this morning. This year, for some reason, my heart is particularly tender toward Christmas (which, if you know me, is huge), and as I lay in bed this morning I began to ponder something that gave me huge cause for pause.
Jesus Left Heaven
The simplicity of those words belie the magnitude of their meaning. Think about them! Ponder the events and emotions that surround them.
Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, who had always existed in perfect, unbroken union with God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit, would very soon leave that perfect fellowship. When you and I are in relationships that are beautiful and sweet and harmonious the thought of leaving can cause great sadness, even if it is only for a short time. I cannot imagine the emotions of the Father as He turned to Jesus and said, “Now! Go!” Of course, I know I am projecting human emotions onto God, yet I have to believe that there was a void in heaven when Jesus stepped out and came to earth. Did the angels weep? Was there silence in heaven because everyone missed the presence of Jesus?
Jesus left heaven with full disclosure of the horrors awaited Him on earth. Was there dread in His holy heart? Angst? Fear? The teeniest bit of uncertainty? He could have said, ‘Nope! Not going. They are not worth leaving heaven.’ I certainly would have. We know from Scripture that as the final hours of His earthly life approached Jesus asked the Father if there was any way other than the cross. The stress on His body was so intense that He sweated blood. It makes me wonder what He felt in those last hours before He stepped out of heaven, put on human flesh, and submitted to the Father’s will for leaving.
Jesus left heaven for ME and for YOU. Whatever you feel you have been asked to give up in this lifetime, Jesus gave up far more. He laid aside His glory to put on human flesh. He stepped out of heaven knowing His mission on earth would be to die so that you and I could have restored fellowship with the Father.
Sometimes we resist stepping outside the walls of our homes or our social circles in order to bless another person, yet Jesus left heaven, not for His good, but for ours. Perhaps that does not impact you the way it has touched me this morning. I am slack-jawed at the sacrifice Jesus made in the leaving….a sacrifice that was for me.
As we begin this Advent journey I want to encourage you to be intentional in your preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Allow your heart to fully engage with all that Advent and Christmas mean. To help you do so, I highly recommend Kris Camealy’s Advent devotion book, Come, Lord Jesus for your pondering pleasure. Here is a link to it on Amazon.
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