The Christmas season officially started yesterday. It was the first day of Advent, when Christians remember He came to save the world, He comes to us today to be our Lord, and that He will come again as our King. At home, the tree went up and, since it was a snowy day.
For some of us this season of celebration includes some sorrow. I remember those who are not singing with us, that will not share the joy of the Season’s festivities. As I went through boxes of decorations, so many of them were reminders of my wife who died four years ago, just four days after Christmas. When we put up our last Christmas tree together in 2015, she was too weak to do the work, but she carefully supervised the placement of each bow and bauble from her place on the couch.
My Bible reading this morning brought me to this passage of promise from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian Christians. There is so much hope included here. These are Advent words! “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, NIV)
“The Coming of the Lord” is the Blessed Hope of the Christian. This is the moment of triumph, the final shout of victory, that we wait for in expectation. We recognize that our life is short, that all voices eventually are stilled by death, but we need not be in despair, nor do we ‘grieve as those who have no hope.’ Christians feel the loss that comes with the great divide of death. After 4 years, I still awaken often to renewed realization that Bev is beyond my reach, that I cannot share life with her, right now. But, I hold onto the promise that she lives in the Presence of God and that she, and millions more, will be reunited at the moment when trumpet of God announces the end of the ages.
Christian does your vision lift from the daily responsibilities of life from time to time to take in the far horizon that includes eternity? We can become captives of the day, faithful and dutiful disciples unless we consciously look up and renew our faith, a tight grasp on the hope and inspiration that comes from the proclamation that death does not have the final word. As you mark the days of Advent make sure it is not just about the Baby in Bethlehem’s manger. Include the Lord of the Revelation.
Here is a word from the Word. May it fill you up with hope and joy.
“The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It was not long after he said this that he was taken up into the sky while they were watching, and he disappeared into a cloud. As they were straining their eyes to see him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven.
And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!” (Acts 1:7-11, NLT)
Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending
(Wesley’s hymn, beautifully sung)
Lo He comes with clouds descending
Once for favoured sinners slain
Thousand thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of His train
Alleluia alleluia alleluia
God appears on earth to reign
Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in glorious majesty
Those who set at naught and sold Him
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree
Shall their true Messiah see
Yea Amen let all adore Thee
High on Thine eternal throne
Saviour take the power and glory
Claim the kingdom for Thine own
Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus
Everlasting God come down
Charles Wesley © Words: Public Domain