A quiet, sunny day in the season of Advent that is upon us. I ponder all that remains on my Advent “to do” list, thinking it will require a Christmas miracle to successfully complete my list. One thing about Christmas though, it will come whether I am ready or not for its arrival. The story of the Grinch reminds us all of that fact, no one can steal or stop Christmas from coming. Not even COVID. Maybe this Advent season, COVID is our Grinch, trying to steal Christmas or to stop its celebration, but COVID cannot stop Christmas from coming! Jesus has come! Jesus is coming again! Both of these irrefutable facts are worthy of the most joyous rejoicing and celebrating that we can offer up to God.
Who throws a better party than heaven? Just ask the shepherds. They heard the heavenly hosts celebrating on the night Jesus was born. The party had started and the shepherds were allowed a glimpse into the eternal celebration that surrounds the birth of the Christ child, God’s gift to a sinful world. So COVID has no power to stop what God has ordained from before the world began.
As I maintain my brisk, a decoration a day, Advent pace – I am reminded of the outdoor hide and seek game we used to play on summer nights. You know the final words shouted by the person who was “it” right? They are “here I come, ready or not.” I am playing this same game of hide and seek with Christmas and she is “it”. Christmas will come, arriving on time, whether I am ready or not. And Christmas will find me, too. She will find me prepared or unprepared, but she will find me. As the saying goes, I can run (well, actually I can’t run right now, with my injured toe and all) but I can’t hide.
So, the question is not “will Christmas come this year?” but “when Christmas comes, in what state will she find me, ready or not ready?” Still, today I think I will take my time and unwrap a few more gifts of Advent. She has already given me so many, what’s a few more gifts unwrapped early? One of my favorites is the joy of anticipation. Advent is all about anticipation. I am looking forward to celebrating something, something big, something life changing, something life giving.
I am looking back on an event that changed the course of human history, while at the same time looking forward to an event yet to come that will change the world once again for good. Jesus has come! Jesus is coming again! What we are looking forward to with great anticipation pretty much defies description but I can read these words from Revelation 21:1-4 which give a hint at what awaits us,
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. . . . I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ ”
Anticipation is pure joy when I am waiting on something so glorious as just described in Revelation 21. Romans 8:19-25 talks about this gift of anticipation I receive as a part of God’s creation saying,
“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. . . . we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. . . . But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
We, along with the rest of the world, the rest of creation, wait in eager expectation as Romans says, for the promised return of Jesus. Mark 13:26-27 describes this future event like this,
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
Today, as I am enjoying the anticipation and the preparations that go into getting ready to celebrate Jesus’s first appearance here on earth, His birthday, I can know I have something even better to look forward to when Jesus returns. In the meantime, in the anticipation there is joy, there is hope, there is comfort that something better is coming, there is peace in knowing that He is a faithful God who keeps His promises.
We all need the hope that anticipating a joyous event brings with it. This Advent season is full of the hope that Jesus brought to this despairing world two thousand years ago. Today, Jesus still holds out that same hope to anyone who would receive it. We can be filled with hope, even during this time in history some would consider more hopeless than at any other time. Hope is one of Advent’s best gifts.
I just have to make room to receive all that God wants to give me through His gift of Jesus Christ, His Son. That’s what Advent is for, to get prepared, to make ready to receive my King – to let Him in.
Jesus has come! Jesus is coming again!
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
sincerely, Grace Day