Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Christmas and Revelation

Every year at this time, I read about the end - at the beginning.

If you'll flip to your "Read Through the Bible in A Year" section in the back of your text, you'll find that the month of December is largely taken up by the book of Revelation (no surprise, it is the last book in the Bible). Every year for last 5 years at least, I've found myself here at Christmas.

I realized this morning as I read Revelation 1 that it is an interesting contrast. Here, in the season of the year when we celebrate the advent of Christ, I find myself reading about His return.

The contrasts abound: At His birth, almost no-one recognized His arrival except His parents and some shepherds; in His Second Coming, no-one will be able to help but recognize Him. At His birth He came as a humble peasant child; in His Second Coming He will come in the majesty and glory of the Godhead. At His birth he came powerless; at His Second Coming He comes as the Omnipotent Conquering King of the Universe.

A curious paradox at this time of celebration and mirth, of Christmas trees and carols and eggnog and good cheer.

Surely we should celebrate His coming? Of course - the Coming of Christ, the God-Man who paved the way for the salvation of man, is worthy of remembrance and celebration - not just now, but every day of the year.

But I wonder in our haste to filled with the seasonal spirit if we forget, we betray to the world that our focus is always less than what it should be. We see the First Coming and celebrate; we know the Second Coming is nigh (it's always nearer than it was yesterday), yet we often bury it beneath a weight of eschatalogical words or treat is as the something which is someday coming, but shouldn't concern us now.

We forget - at our peril - that for Israel as well, the Messiah's arrival was something so long in coming that they also eventually failed to look for that which was promised.

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