I must confess something. Thanksgiving night I stood in line to enter a retail shop! In my defense, I didn’t go for myself, but went with my wife to find a good deal on hairspray. Needless to say, I was taken back by how many people were standing in line to go into this hair and make-up store. There had to have been 150 people standing in line waiting for it to open! We stood there anticipating the doors opening. And as soon as they did, the line dissipated into a blob inside the store.
It is amazing that we will wait patiently for today, particularly during this season of the year. Of course, some don’t wait so patiently. We’ve likely all seen videos of Black Friday frenzies. In the church, we mark this time of waiting and call it the season of Advent. Although, we are waiting for something more than a good deal. Rather we are awaiting Jesus’ return.
The season of Advent has a dual focus every year. For many, we only see it as having the singular focus of celebrating Jesus’ birthday. While Advent celebrates the long ago coming of Jesus as a child, it also celebrates and anticipates Jesus’ second coming. This season is a time to remember and look forward to the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to return. He says in John, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me…I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3).” It is a time to look forward to the day when Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes. And death, crying, and pain will be no more (Rev. 21).
God knows we need Jesus to arrive. We need the advent of Jesus. In a world filled with fear, we need Jesus’ assurance. In a world where the powerful take advantage of the less powerful and where men wield their power to silence women who are victims of sexual abuse, we need our Savior Jesus to return. In a world where enough food is grown to feed the world; yet, every day children starve to death, we need Jesus to return. In a world too often filled with violence, we need Jesus’ peaceful kingdom to reign. In a world where too many die of curable diseases and many die for unknown, tragic reasons, we need Jesus to return.
This season is a season of hope. It is a season to anticipate that in the midst of hopelessness a new day will dawn when Christ will come again. The words of Charles Wesley’s Advent hymn are just as much about tomorrow as they are about today, “Come thou long expected Jesus…” We know Christ goes with us every step of the way. But we look forward to the day when we are with him in fullness and the glory Jesus will bring. As we wait for Jesus this season, let us wait with unwavering hope.