The Saviour Comes

The Saviour Comes

Bible Portion: 
John 1:9-14: The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us …full of grace and truth (v. 14).

Parents of young children understand their frustration. Are we there, yet? Can’t I open just one Christmas gift today—on the first day of October? Waiting is frustrating. For us all! Yet, if the outcome is good enough, we will wait in hope. C. S. Lewis accurately observes that hope will patiently wait for what is ultimately better: “It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.” Is anything worse than perpetual winter without Christmas? Only this: Christmas that is perpetually without Christ! Our Savior, indeed, is well worth the wait! He comes soon.

In my family home, Christmas dinner is a time of feasting celebration. Laughter is shared. Conversations flourish in company with friends, family, and guests. Strangers are welcomed as our friends-to-be. In a polite England setting, people eat until they are replete; in down-homey Canada, until they are stuffed. My father-in-law would ask if we were sufficiently satisfied. He invented new words. Cleverly, he would grin and ask, Are you sufficiently suffoncified? We all knew what he meant. And we were!

So it is with Advent. We assume we know exactly what God meant by giving us Christmas. And indeed there is much we do know—yet, so much mystery still remains. His love meets us in our questions.

On Christmas day, we reach an endpoint: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us …full of grace and truth. Our Advent pilgrimage is complete, today. Endings are also new beginnings. In the Cradle, Cross, and Crown we see God’s continuum of eternal grace. They speak of promises fulfilled hopes realized, prophecies achieved, and plans enacted. They point to an eternity in which to discover even more of God’s amazing grace. Endless love is his. His love gently calls your name.

God’s vision reaches farther than ours. Christmas pulls us into God’s deep future, showing us of the Savior’s birth as the prequel to his soon return. God’s first gift is the incarnation: Immanuel, God with us. His light shines into our darkness. Christ’s birth hints at God’s second gift: Christ will soon come again, to take us home. Our forever dwelling is among angels in glory. Hard to grasp, yet utterly true.

Darkness cannot stand before God’s fiery throne, the shadow-less presence of the Three in Unity. Pastor John of Patmos eternity in the Revelation of Jesus. He puts it into words. He pictures us keeping company with the Triune God, dwelling in perfect light. No pain, or death, or tears can enter there. God’s prefect love is our limitless portion. With angel voices we are lost in wonder, love, and praise.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Rev. 7:9-11). That’s a praise party fit for heaven!

Imagine how that will sound! Can you picture the numberless choir? Are you playing in the band? Will you join the jubilant chorus: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever unto the ages of ages. The classical chords blend with those African syncopations. Will you move to the jazz harmonies and the calypso beats? All manner of improvisations—of voices, instruments, and rhythms—blend seamlessly in heavenly harmonies. They surpass our most musical dreams.

Charles Wesley, the prolific hymn writer, painted a word picture of that party. In 1739, he wrote the beloved carol, Hark the herald angels sing. In 1849 Felix Mendelssohn wrote a cantata. It was later adapted to accompany the carol. Great poet meets great musician! Yet, as Jesus comes again, our joy will surpass the glory they portray within their timeless words and music.
In this in-between-time, we wait. In faith. In hope.

We sing our well-loved carol: Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris'n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!

This Christmas let yourself be more than “sufficiently suffonsified” by the love of Jesus, the light of Christ. Soon and very soon we shall see him face to face.

What glimpses do you see of God’s forever love for you? Where in your life do you see a foretaste of his coming glory at his final return? How will you rejoice in the security of being his, today?  

O Holy Child, I bow my heart at the Cradle of your love. I worship and adore you. Fully take your place within my life. Shadows of the Cross falls upon my path, calling me to eternal life eternal through the gift of your salvation. Your Crown of Glory invites me ever upwards. In endless wonder, I marvel at the light of your presence. Lord my mind is far too small, my heart too shrivelled, to comprehend the miracle of your grace. I rest in your love, secure in your care. I lift Jesus higher on this Christmas Day. Hallelujah! What a Saviour! Thank you, Lord. Amen.
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