Friday, December 25, 2015

Our Coming King!

I have always enjoyed the season of Advent; those four weeks set apart to meditate on the first coming of Jesus. Advent means 'a coming into place, view or being,' so it is the perfect time to remember Jesus' arrival into human history as a tiny infant. Everyone loves babies; they are cute and cuddly. They are also non-threatening; they write no manifestos and make no speeches. They don't march or have causes. Examine any manger scene, the baby Jesus just lies there limply, without so much as a Pampers on—pretty harmless stuff. It is easy to reflect on and sing the praises of baby Jesus, asleep on the hay. Even the worldexcept those allergic to even the most innocuous religious expressions of Christmas—mostly tolerates baby Jesus. But Jesus hasn't been a baby for a long, long time. 

The man Jesus makes conclusive, polarizing statements about His identity. He directs how we should live—meddles even. He tips our sacred cows. His statements about Himself demand a response. He's politically incorrect and intolerant, with His claim of being 'the only way'. His promise that He will return, destroy all that hinders love and rule this planet as absolute, undisputed King places Him squarely at odds with the world and its systems. It's much less controversial to focus on His humble birth. Can't we just all get along? 

Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending Advent reflecting on Jesus' first advent—we should express love and gratitude that He came to save us. But Jesus our Messiah is also our coming King. He asks His disciples to remember that He is coming back and that they be ready. Like a watchmen vigilantly guarding his house against burglars. Like a pregnant woman, excitedly waiting for the day her baby arrives. Like a Jewish bride in ancient times, eagerly waiting for the day her bridegroom completes his preparations and comes to take her from her father's house, into his own.

So it's good that I remind myself that He's coming again, especially at this time of the year when everything around me insists that celebrating Christmas is okay, as long as I keep it about gifts and parties and baby Jesus. Baby Jesus only. But King Jesus is the One returning, with fiery eyes and an implacable determination to return the world to what God intended from the beginning. A place where God may walk among us; where we may see Him face to face. A place of unhindered love and intimacy, where we creatures may finally and forever live with our Creator. A place of eternal glory. 

As 2015 draws to a close, I want every manger scene be a reminder, not just that Jesus humbled Himself by coming as a weak, human infant, but that He's coming again as all-powerful King. As I remember and honor Jesus' appearing, I am asking God to refresh my desire to watch for His reappearing. This beautiful, terrible, broken world is passing and will pass away. Soon and very soon we will see our King, our glorious Jesus, high and lifted up. His train will fill all the earth. Every eye will see Him, recognizing Him as King and God. What a privilege it is to see and know Him now. 

May this Advent reaffirm your trust that what He has promised He will do; renew your resistance to the pull of this world; and refocus your life on Jesus. May He shorten the time and strengthen the saints to walk out His love to others.  Merry Christmas. Maranatha! (Oh Lord, Come!) 



“[Jesus] who testifies to these things says,
‘Yes, I am coming soon.’
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

Revelation 21:20-21


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