33:14-16; Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14; 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2
“They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud.” (Luke 21:27)
Don’t you find it strange that today’s Gospel reading would focus on the end times and not Christmas? But as confusing as this may seem at first, it really is appropriate. There are a lot of similarities between Christmas and the Second Coming.
First, there is the obvious similarity that both events are marked by the coming of Jesus. It’s true that he came as a baby at Christmas, and at the Second Coming, he will come as a conquering king. But in both instances, it’s still Jesus, the all-holy Son of God, who is breaking into our finite, limited world.
Second, in both instances Jesus comes to bring the kingdom of God. At Christmas, he came to inaugurate that kingdom through his preaching, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection. At the Second Coming, he will bring to fulfillment what he began at Christmas. All sin and suffering will be wiped away, and we will enter into eternal life with all the angels and saints.
Finally, both Christmas and the Second Coming are times of excitement mixed with awe. At Christmas, we hear angels singing, see a magnificent star, and watch Herod tremble with fear. At the Second Coming, the heavens will open to reveal Jesus, shining like the sun, and all who are opposed to him will face his judgment. Both are times of great hope that call us to examine our own lives.
So as Advent begins, think about who Jesus is for you. This little baby in a manger is also the Suffering Servant who gave up his life to set you free from sin and death. He is the Lord of all creation who is coming back to bring his faithful people to heaven. May God open our eyes this season, so that we can see Jesus in a new way and be transformed by what we see!
“Jesus, I want to dedicate this season to seeing you more fully. Come, Lord, and make me ready to greet you when you come again!” ~WAU