We're not there yet ... the best is yet to come!

Built on a Rock

In some congregations candles are lit on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. We call those four Sundays the season of advent because we prepare to celebrate anew the advent (coming) of the Son of God when He was born to live among us and to do a great work of salvation.

The birth of Jesus was and still is good news! When we look at world history and current events, it is obvious that we, mankind, haven’t managed to save ourselves. We haven’t set straight ourselves or the world. We haven’t overcome the impulse toward selfishness and pride. Read the headlines from any year in world history including 2020 (what a strange year this turned out to be) and you’ll see that we need God’s help as well as His forgiveness. We need a Savior.

In the season of advent we give thanks that help has come. And we look to the future trusting that more help is on the way. As theologians put it, we celebrate the “already” and press on toward the “not yet”. Already the Son of God came to this world humbly, born in a stable, to reconcile us to God. Not yet has He come again to make all things new.

If you follow Jesus, you probably feel this tension. You’re ever so thankful that Christ already died for your sins and conquered death for you, so that “…now being justified by faith we have peace with God.” Romans 5:1. But you know that though forgiven you’re far from perfect. You live in a world that still groans under the weight of mankind’s sins. You long for the second advent of the Son of God. The Bible prayer, “Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” resonates with you.

Don’t you long for when God will make real that which the Apostle John was blessed to see from afar? “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:1, 3-4)

We’re not there yet. But we have hope because with every passing day we’re that much closer to the glorious future the Son of God will bring about. We’re not there yet. So we do simple things like light candles during advent to remind each other that God’s light still shines in the darkness. We light candles that remind us of the peace, hope, love and joy that are already ours through our Savior’s first advent. And we trust that the best is yet to come. For He who so promised is faithful.

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