A Cloud of Witnesses
What follows is Pastor’s article for the December Leaflet, BSLC’s monthly newsletter.
In high-profile criminal trials, you commonly see a parade of witnesses brought to the stand. People from the defendant’s past, some of his peers, perhaps even his followers, all may be summoned to testify about the man in the dock.
The season of Advent is like this. But the “defendant,” if you will, is no mere man, much less a common criminal. In Advent, we hear from a succession of witnesses who testify about who exactly this Babe born in the manger is, this One wrapped in swaddling cloths.
What child is this, anyway?
We will encounter witnesses from His past: in our Sunday services we will hear from the prophets Zechariah, Daniel, Isaiah, and others.
We will also hear from His peers: principally his (half) cousin, John the Baptizer.
And we will even meet some witnesses who came after Him—the saints whose lives testify to the truth of His identity. So in our Wednesday services, we will hear from St. Andrew, St. Lucia, and even a certain jolly old saint (the one of history, not legend).
In the biblical book of Hebrews, the author exhorts us,
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12.1-2)
The season of Advent reminds us that we are surrounded by that “cloud of witnesses”: the faithful of old who, through their words and actions, testified to the history-altering, earth-shattering, life-changing message of Christmas: in Jesus, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1.14).
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, I encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule to join us for worship on Wednesday evenings, and of course Sunday mornings as well. Gather together with the cloud of witnesses—past, present, and future—and remember why we celebrate this and every December.