The sights of Christmas lights, wrapped gifts, and nativity scenes. The smells of our favorite baked goods. The sounds of “Jingle Bells”, “O Holy Night”, and “Noel”. Our family traditions.
These all help set the scene as we celebrate the First Advent- God the Son coming as a baby in a manger in a barn in Bethlehem. For many of us we can’t celebrate Bethlehem without celebrating Calvary- they simply go together.
But it isn’t so much Jesus in a manger or even Jesus on a cross that I am looking to this year; it’s Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3); and it’s Jesus coming back in His Second Advent!
I think this is appropriate considering 2018. People near and far have lost loved ones and marriages; I’ve walked closely and wept with some and for others, I’ve looked on from afar and had them near in my heart.
But you can’t stop at humanity; read the headlines around the world. Earthquakes, fires, tsunamis. All creation truly is groaning (Romans 8:22).
I’ve found myself reading in Hebrews since November. To some, it may seem boring; but to me, it’s the story of God’s faithfulness! I like to think of Hebrews as one big check mark and maybe it could even be subtitled, “It is FINISHED!” (John 19:30) Christ is the fulfillment of all that we read about in the Old Testament. All the things that had to be done are completed in Him!
Hebrews refers to Jesus as being our Mediator (8:6, 9:15). Do you really know what a mediator is? The word there means “guaranteeing the performance of all the terms stipulated in a covenant; a mediator intervenes to restore peace between two parties, especially as it fulfills a compact or ratifies (to confirm) a covenant.” (Bible Hub)
So when you read that Jesus is our Mediator and you understand what that really means, that gives us great cause to rejoice! HE, alone, has restored peace between us and God!
What does this have to do with Christmas? EVERYTHING! As I already mentioned, Christmas is when we celebrate the First Advent- He came to restore peace between us and God. But what remained in the world? Sin. And as believers in Christ, though we have peace with God through Jesus Christ, sin still affects our world, our families, our relationships, our minds.
But let’s look at the Second Advent: this is when Jesus when will come back and defeat ALL (do you see that? ALL!) of sin and reign forever!
Revelation 19:11 says,
“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.”
He will come back and make war, and He will be victorious! But it doesn’t end there!
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” – Rev 21:1-5
I cannot read this passage without tears pouring down my face! Do you understand? He will be AMONG us; He will DWELL among us; and there will be NO MORE TEARS or DEATH or MOURNING or CRYING or PAIN! Do you hear this promise?
We can look to this glorious Second Advent because we celebrate that the First Advent happened! He promised, and He was faithful. And, He will be again!
So this Christmas I pray that you don’t stop at the manger. He is no longer there.
I pray that you don’t stop at the cross on Calvary. He is no longer there.
Instead, I pray that you behold our God, who is SEATED at the right hand of the Father.
And He is coming soon! HALLELUJAH!
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me… And 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 14:1,3