Many Christians observe the season of Advent leading up to Christmas. One of the beautiful things about Advent is how it encourages us to look beyond the Nativity scene and the usual “Christmas story” and behold the second and final advent of our Lord to come. The Christmas story does not end after Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus escape to Egypt. The Christmas story is the story of our redemption, and will not end until our Savior returns to redeem us finally from every vestige of sin.
Meditate on 2 Peter 3:10-13 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
As somber and serious as the judgment against sin will be, we have much to rejoice in as we consider and meditate on the Second Coming of Christ. This is not the reunion of a frightened child with an angry father. This is the marriage of a Bride and her Bridegroom – when we will be “made like Him” (1 John 3:2), taking our rightful place as co-heirs and co-rulers with Christ over the new heavens and new earth.
There will finally be perfect happiness in the presence of God the Father and no sin or separation between us. All the mysteries of God will be ours to explore, searching out the unsearchable riches of Christ for all of eternity. This is the culmination of Christmas. As we let this sink into our souls and hearts like the warmth of a fire on a cold winter night, let us sing with renewed hope this beautiful Christmas hymn:
O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
(O Come, O Come Emmanuel)
I hope as we enter into this familiar holiday that the weight of eternity will be felt by us all. That we will be able to see the substance of our faith through the hazy veil of Christmas and Advent symbolism and celebrate by faith the marriage supper that is yet to be realized. I hope that our hearts will be clear of the clutter of this world, that we will be able to “join the triumph of the skies” and in our feasting seek out the grace of God in every taste.