The Other Advent


The twinkling lights of Christmas decorations remind me of the joy of this season of celebration. Jesus came, our Immanuel (God with us) and the whole world was changed by that Gift that showed up in a manger in old Bethlehem. The Light of life arrived to shine in the darkness. And yet …  we still find ourselves weeping, evidence of the power of evil in death, suffering, war, hatred, and injustice.  Christian, let’s not forget the ‘other’ Advent, that promised Coming of the Lord of Glory.

In my reading in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, yesterday I read about God’s promised justice. (see CWTW, Monday)  When will the godly find vindication, their faithfulness be rewarded?  The Word says “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-11, NIV)

e love the story of the Baby boy that Mary birthed. The tender drama of the stable, shepherds, and angels resonates with us. Thousands of children in churches around the world will reenact the Nativity, much to our delight. The carols of that Holy Night warm our hearts. But, it is not the whole story of the salvation of this world. The Cross and the Resurrection did complete our salvation, but the Scripture is clear that that full revelation of the King and His Kingdom are still to come.

The next Coming of the Lord will be in power, with justice and judgment, to destroy the work of evil. Paul speaks of Him coming “in blazing fire.”  Fire is the Scripture’s metaphor for purification, consuming that which is offensive, that which corrupts. The first coming was one of love, one that announced God’s desire for ‘peace on earth.’  The next Coming is one when separation occurs, when those who have loved Him are full of joy at the realization of the hopes and dreams of the ages, when those who have rebelled mourn because they see the folly of their refusal of His salvation.

Do you remember that ‘other Advent,’ the one yet to come? There is so much about that coming we cannot fully understand and some of us push it out of mind, too fantastic to really believe. He came once, He will come again. This is the Word of God.  Is that promise a blessed Hope for you or a source of terrible dread?  Today, you can receive the salvation of the Lord, you can be filled with the joy of being reconciled to God, the Creator, so that He is your ‘Abba,’ your loving Father.  Let’s us pray with Paul, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.” Amen.

Here is a word from the Word. Lord, let us receive it in faith. “When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?” “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 1:6-11, NLT)


Joy To The World (Antioch)

(Often sung in our celebration,
a song actually about the other Advent)

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing

 Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat repeat the sounding joy

 No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as far as the curse is found

 He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders wonders of His love

Isaac Watts  Words: Public Domain

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