Advent | The Promise

So also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

  • Hebrews 9:28

The Christmas trick works just about every time. The commercials, the carols, the Christmas TV specials, and the gingerbread lattes all promise that this year will be different. This year will finally be perfect. Your family will finally get along. The kids will be so grateful for their Christmas presents – never tiring of playing with them. You won’t run out of Egg Nog at the party this year. You’ll finally find the perfect gift for that perfect person who will make Christmas ever so perfect.

Many of us fall for it every year – only to be disappointed. The post-holiday blues set in and we wonder, “Will things ever work out the way I hope and dream?”

Yes. Maybe not this Christmas, but yes.

The Advent season is not just about reflecting on the first coming of Jesus when he arrived as an infant boy in a stable. Advent is also about looking in hopeful anticipation to the second coming when Jesus will arrive on a white horse as King of Kings.

When Jesus comes the second time, it will be to make all things right and just. It will be to renew and restore that which is broken and marred. Evil will be judged and banished and the bride of Christ rescued and presented “without spot, wrinkle or blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27)

Take a moment and think on this with me: No spot. No wrinkle. No Blemish.

How can this possibly be? Our sins are prevalent. Christmas often reveals the truly wicked condition of our hearts. No ‘spot, wrinkle, or blemish’? What of our pride, faults, and failures? We would find it joyous if the scripture simply said Jesus would present me without a heinous scar or disfigurement. We would celebrate for all eternity if we were presented with our mess appropriately covered. How wonderful it would be, just to be presentable. Yet, that is not the promise of the Second Advent. Jesus will present us in perfect and complete righteousness – without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.

No spots from our shameful past.
No wrinkles from our disobedience.
No blemishes from our failures.
Perfect.

Soak it in. Savor the good news. Rejoice with a joy truly unspeakable. There is coming a day when all will be as it should be. Another Advent has been promised – one where our King will return and will find us altogether lovely.

Consider the words of C.S. Lewis: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Does this resonate with you? What would it mean for our day-to-day faith journey if we lived daily in light of the promise of the Second Advent?

Gifts are an important aspect of Christmas celebrations. Often we like to piously remark that, “it’s not about the presents.” Yet, Christmas in itself is the gracious gift of Salvation from God through Jesus Christ. Think about the size and scope of this gift – what kind of Thank you card would you write to Heaven in light of this?

Does “without spot, wrinkle or blemish” seem impossible to you? If so, why does Paul – a man who claimed to be “chief among sinners” believe it to be so?

RESPONSE

Take some time to pray, thanking God for His goodness and grace in sending a Savior. Confess the areas where your confidence in His faithfulness is weak and ask Him to build up your trust, belief, and hope.

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