Today we had a precious family day. It started by going to church and worshipping the King…the baby in the manger who grew up to become the man of sorrows…the One who will return on a white horse, His robe dipped in the blood of the nations.
This is what it looks like in-between Advents.
We celebrate His coming but we also fast and pray for His return. If ever there was a time of joy and sorrow intertwined, it is now. We’re aware, painfully aware, especially this week, that Jesus came to bring wholeness but not all receive it. Joy and sorrow. And we also become aware, as we should remain, that God is holding back His justice and wrath for the day Isaiah tells us of, when He returns this time a powerful warrior setting up a Kingdom we can see with our own eyes. Again, joy and sorrow.
As a worship leader, Advent is not an easy thing to lead through because it’s a celebration of God coming in the flesh as a living love story but it’s also the careful waiting for His return, the sitting on the edge of our seat trying to not lose sight of our hope in His heart for justice! Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to really wake up to our need for His return. Sometimes it takes a glimpse of darkness to snap us out of our stupor of whatever we were thinking about and making our lives about that had so very little to do with the heart cry of God.
But this is what it looks like in-between Advents. This is the place in history we find ourselves. We have to get adjusted in this seat of sorrow and joy forever intertwined because they will not be separated until the King returns. Why do I harp on this so much? I know I have been saying the same thing for years, in blogs, songs, conversations, prayer. I harp on it so much because I think that if the Church can get adjusted to this seat of joy and sorrow, this harmony of shout-out-loud thankfulness for His first coming and steady commitment to whatever is on His heart in His second coming, we will be poised to truly be His hands and feet here. We won’t be confused and wading through the dark, blending in with the world in every way. We will have correct, Biblical expectations regarding our health, our families, our safety, our money, and our callings, talents, and careers. We will understand we are not here for ourselves, to make a sweet little life and a good little name. We will not forget that we are strangers here, and here for a purpose that we might not even get to see or understand because it isn’t for us.
Understanding, embracing, expecting this…it changes the heart over time. What will the heart of the church look like if this change occurs? I believe we will see a gratefulness for every little blessing, every tiny little gift like a pink sunset or a good piece of fruit will be a surprise that we realize we didn’t deserve. I believe we will have willingness instead of fear regarding losing our earthly possessions and comforts and even our lives, because we are so attached to our unseen Home. We will just think, “Oh the joy of having One Thing that can never be taken from me.” And lastly I believe we will have a generosity and openness like we have only seen in lives such as the great missionaries, some still living, many who have gone before us.
Jesus, we know You have promised to be with us…Your first coming changes everything. Help us first embrace that! And secondly, help us daily dwell with You, whatever You walk us through to the end.