Where is the Promise of His Coming?
Where is the promise of His coming?
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
No matter how aware we are of the imminence of Christmas we always seem to be caught off-guard by its arrival. On top of our surprise is the pressure we feel from retailer’s relentless push for us to purchase things we do not really need. The marketing machine of consumerism spins its web of deals, sales and extended hours to lure us (and our wallets) into the clutches of over-worked sales clerks. The pace of life quickens at Christmas bringing our “all-to-busy” lifestyles to the brink of calamity.
Oh, but there will always be the joy of the Christmas season…right?! Well, in recent years, regular reminders from those who seem to have the best of intensions reminds us of Christmas’ pagan roots. You know how it goes; Christ wasn’t born this time of the year, Santa Claus misleads children causing them to believe a lie and our exchange of gifts is self-serving or superficial. While these warnings are valid, they bring with them a weight to the season.
So, what is my point you ask? Confession time, it has been easy for me to miss the real reason we celebrate Christmas regardless of its pagan roots and over-hyped retailer’s commercials. It is my desire this year to give some real time and thought to why this time of the year is important; beyond the family time, presents and musical celebrations.
Whether we are missing the correct date of Jesus’ birth or not, this is the time of the year we celebrate the entrance of Jesus Christ into the world. In the words of the disciple John, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) Apostle Paul adds, “Jesus, being fully God and man; made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:7-8). That’s a pretty special reason to stop and think about what Christmas means to me… and I hope you will take moments during the next several weeks for this reflection too. Understanding what is meant by God taking on flesh and becoming man is reserved for a life-time of reflection, to know He did this for someone like me is really pretty incredible.
Promise to be Fulfilled
After Jesus’ ascension, the disciple Peter spent the rest of his life proclaiming the gospel to everyone who would listen and probably to many who would not listen. He encountered many who scoffed (2 Peter 3) at his words; Peter was not deterred as he proclaimed the truth of a promise yet to be fulfilled; the second coming of Jesus Christ. Christ’s return will signal the beginning of the final things; you might say the consummation of all things will be at hand at Christ’s return.
Those special words Jesus spoke to his disciples as described in John 14 ring true still today for all who believe; “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3) To me, Christmas is not just about the baby Jesus fulfilling the first promise of a Messiah, but it should also remind us that one promise is yet to be fulfilled, the second coming of Jesus Christ; His triumphant return as King of all creation.
Let me be among the first to say to you… Merry Christmas!
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. (Rev 18:11-12)
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor paint anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ Behold I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:1-5)
I pray this Christmas season is filled with moments of reflection and joy for the Savior of the world; Jesus Christ.