Advent Reading – December 21, 2017

Christine Berkan – GroveKids Welcome Teams

Isaiah 55:13

“So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be lead into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause.”

I love the sense of anticipation that accompanies the Christmas season. The lights, the music, the coziness of a warm house on a cold day all contribute to a feeling of expectancy. One of my favourite memories of anticipation was Christmas 1996. It was a unique Christmas, because all of my Dad’s family made plans to travel to our farm to celebrate the holiday. Gathering 6 families from Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan is no small feat, so all of us celebrating together held specialness because of its rarity. Dozens of us stayed together in my family’s tiny farm house that year. Waking up Christmas morning with my cousins was very memorable. Because we were still waiting for one of my Uncle’s to arrive from Regina, the gift opening had to hold off until he drove in. The anticipation to open gifts was enormous to us kids, but the rule was “no gifts until Uncle Gary arrives”.

And so, we waited. And waited. For hours, my cousins and I huddled together in an upstairs bedroom, giddy with excitement, watching for car lights from the window. What relief we felt when we finally spied the car pulling into the driveway.

As Christians, our lives on this earth should also be marked with anticipation as we await Christ’s coming in Glory at the end of time. Perhaps this Christmas story about waiting for my uncle can cause us to ponder a few questions about what life on earth looks like as we anticipate Christ’s arrival:

Are you excited?  – Do you live today in anticipation of what might happen tomorrow?  On Christmas 1996, I was selfishly awaiting presents. But what Christians are waiting for with regard to the end of time is a magnificent event: Isaiah 55 tells us that we will be lead into a whole and complete life, that the mountains will burst into song and that the trees be exuberant with applause. This is a stunning visual reminder of the goodness that awaits us. This. Is. Exciting. Let’s live our lives with the magnitude and excitement of eternity in mind.

Are you watchful?  – Is your life marked by a spiritual alertness? Just like the car lights coming down the driveway marked the arrival of my Uncle, there will be signs that mark the arrival of Jesus’ second coming. Do you know these signs? Mathew 24, Luke 21, 2 Timothy 3 are just a few references that point us to the events that will mark the end of time.

Are you waiting in community?  – There’s something special about being with family during Christmas. Scripture tells us that we should never give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25) and that our unity will be a sign to the rest of the world of the power of Christ (John 17:23). Have you taken steps to be involved in unified Christian community – a family of believers?

So, as you celebrate with your families this holiday season, may your attention not only look back to His first coming – but may you also look forward with great anticipation to His return.