In his last blog my son, Michael Garland, drew upon the hymn Joy to the World to highlight the purpose for which Jesus was born. It was the culmination of a series of Christmas messages that we, his readers, found informative and inspiring. (Thanks, Mike, for writing your Bookends articles and for offering to publish contributions of guest writers on your site.)
As Bookends faithfully shares and stimulates Christian thought on beginnings and endings and the story in between, it struck me that Advent is just that. Advent is a season during which we think back to the beginning of Christianity with the birth of our Savior. But it is also a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Second Advent, His return.That Christ is coming again—first to take His bride, the Church, to be with Him in heaven, and then to destroy His enemies and establish His rule upon the earth—is the believer’s hope as we enter a new year.
Advent-One laid the necessary foundation for Advent-Two. As the Lamb of God, Jesus came the first time to die in payment for the sins of the world, to redeem a people with whom to share His reign as King. For them the curse of sin and death was removed by His death in their place, and resurrection. But His second coming will remove the curse from the earth and usher in the time of peace and joy and environmental restoration and righteous government that this world is longing for. The rule with which God entrusted Adam and Eve will finally be established under the Last Adam, Jesus, and His faithful followers. Only then will “sin and sorrow no longer grow, nor thorns infest the ground.” Only then will His blessings flow “far as the curse is found” today. Only then will He rule “the world with truth and grace, and make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”
The story in between the first and second advents is one each of us has a hand in writing. In 2019, may we choose the obedience that faith in Christ produces, the faithfulness that God rewards. We have a bright future purchased with the brutal death of God as Man. The question is whether we will act like it.