Yesterday we celebrated the Lord’s Supper at church, as we do the first Sunday of the month. Taking Communion during Advent is a strange experience for me. At first thought, Communion doesn’t fit into an Advent service. It’s not “Christmasy.” Christmas is the celebration of God’s gift, his Son sent as a baby. A sweet holiness fills our hearts as we imagine the newborn Christ, surrounded by worshiping angels. Children put on Christmas pageants, telling us the story we’ve heard many times.
On the other hand, when we look at the Lord’s table, we see blood and sacrifice, and remember that our redemption came at a great cost. The work of the cross is on display during Communion. Children don’t act out the crucifixion story, and the sober holiness that surrounds the cross feels different than that sweet Christmas holiness.
Yet, when we think beyond first impressions, we hit the deeper truths. This year I realized how perfectly Communion fits with Advent.
- Both are all about Presence—God’s with us through his Son. The Newborn (called Emmanuel, God with us) grows up to die on a cross so that we can forever know God with us in a relationship sort of way.
- Both are about sacrifice. Christ’s coming down to earth, leaving his rightful home to take on flesh, was a great sacrifice for him, no less than climbing onto the cross for our sins. His life was one, big humble sacrifice, a surrendering of rights and power so that we might receive salvation.
- Both are about God moving toward us. As we’ve seen with Advent, God’s entrance into this world demonstrates his pursuit to redeem his people. The culmination of this pursuit is Christ’s death and resurrection. When we were helpless, God came for us. He made the first move, did all the work, and left us with only one task: choose him as Lord or reject him.
How do you make connections between Advent and Communion?