Are you getting tired of hearing that 2020 has been a rough year? People speak of it as if on December 31st the world will turn a page and 2021 will magically be better?
You know the feeling. That angst. That anticipation. These feelings are the very feelings of Advent.
The word “advent” means “expectant waiting.” This is the season that is marked by waiting and anticipation. So our feelings of angst and anticipation are good and have value, but they must be oriented in the proper direction.
The anticipation this year has been stronger than ever. In fact, many have had decorations up for months now. But at what direction is the anticipation aimed? My fear is that many are going to be disappointed on December 26th because all of this anticipation has no goal. With this in mind, can I help consider something else to aim at this Christmas season?
The desperate need of the first Advent was that God would send a Messiah. A Messiah who would make a way for the creation to be in perfect fellowship with the Creator. That Messiah was Jesus, who through his death, burial, and resurrection set forth a course whereby man can be reconciled with God. Second Corinthians says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (5:21).
First, a simple goal this Advent season may be that you grow closer in your relationship with God. Jesus made a way for you to have fellowship with the Creator. This isn’t about going to church or being baptized, but a daily relationship with God. Don’t wait for 2021 – start today by reading the Scriptures and making space for God in the everyday things of life.
Secondly, our theology would be incomplete if we didn’t focus on the Second Advent. Joni Eareckson Tada says, “Every Christmas is still a ‘turning of the page’ until Jesus returns. Every December 25th marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to home.
When we realize that Jesus is the answer to our deepest longing, even Christmas longings, each advent brings us closer to his glorious return to earth. When we see him as he is, King of kings and Lord of lords, that will be Christmas indeed!”
The truth that Jesus will return again only strengthens our faith more. In fact, our angst and anticipation this year are even more pronounced by a desire for a New Creation that no longer experiences disease, dissent, and death. The Scripture says, “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing” (2 Corinthians 5:2).
Let’s make it a goal to not just imagine temporary relief from this world’s ills, but to begin regularly imagining what the New Creation will look like in Jesus’ Second Advent.
Ask your kids how they imagine God making all things new. Before you pray over your requests, imagine what the implications of the Second Advent would have on your request. Ask your friends if they had one wish for the world what would it be.
And let us all commit to praying for God to let “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”