As we anticipate Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ first coming to earth, we also look forward to His second appearance. Are we ready? The Bible urges us to be prepared for that day by trusting in Him as our Savior and Lord and by obedience to His Word. I sometimes wonder if He were to return today, would I be ready? How about you?
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
I used to write radio and magazine ads for a Minneapolis firm, always being mindful to tickle the minds of the readers with the anticipation of the newest, soon-to-be-released products. As an avid reader, I often succumbed to the ads I wrote about our clients’ newest books.
During this Christmas season, we often see the anticipation in the faces of children, who look forward to receiving their wish-list gifts. Many adults also anticipate gifts, as well as cards, visits, and celebration gatherings. We hope for ongoing good health and provision, travel safety, and the healing of loved ones. And surely we anticipate the death of Covid and its variants.
The Jewish nation hoped for decades that a “savior” would deliver them from the tyranny of unjust enemies. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15)
The humble birth of Jesus wasn’t quite the righteous Branch Israel expected, but it impacted the entire world and continues to today. While we celebrate His humble birth with anticipation and joy, we look forward to His second arrival. The Bible is filled with words of hope, not only about His final entry but about our role in preparing for such an event.
What must we do to be ready? the Bible seems to ask. Two words come to mind: trust and obey. Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved, the New Testament writers advise. The obedience part begins with loving God with our whole heart, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Such a command requires our total time and effort. Through daily meditation and study of God’s Word, as well as with prayer, we can avoid sinning against Him.
Meanwhile, we’re urged to “Be careful not to let yourselves become occupied with … the worries of this life or that [final] day may suddenly catch you like a trap. For it will come upon all people everywhere on earth. Be on watch and pray always that you will have the strength to go safely through all those things that will happen and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
Lord, thank You for the joyful anticipation we experience as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Cause us to look forward to Your second coming with as much joy and hope. While we wait, strengthen and empower us with total trust in and obedience to Your Word and presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.