Christ is Coming to Make All Things New

I have come to the last page of our family calendar. Every year one of our children gathers family photos and strategically, thematically, and esthetically captures memories and backgrounds on appropriate months. November has passed us by, and December is now upon us. The Advent Calendar has begun. There is a song about the twelve days of Christmas, but Advent Calendars traditionally have twenty-five days in them, eagerly anticipating the celebration of Christmas. I can remember giving our kids calendars with pop-out doors with sweet chocolate surprises inside. On the Christian calendar Advent begins anywhere from November 27th to December 3rd. “Adventus” is the Latin translation of the Greek word “Parousia,” which is commonly used to refer to the second coming of Christ. Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (1153 ad) Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ; in the flesh in Bethlehem 2000 years ago; in our hearts daily; and in glory at the end of times. Liturgically, Christian worship services and devotionals draw us back to the events of Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the wisemen surrounding a baby lying in a manger, and the miraculous coming of the Word become flesh, full of grace and truth. We also spend a lot of thought, energy and money, blessing those most dear to us. Dates are circled, flights booked and lodging secured, so we can celebrate the presence of Christ Jesus in us and among us with those we love. God is good and where his goodness is lived out most naturally is in family. But even when families are together, there are moments of tension, frustration, disappointment and even despair. Some families are still grieving, while others carefully navigate boundaries and brokenness, still eager to bless. Advent includes a time of yearning for a better day, a craving for healing, a desire for shalom. There is a hope that Advent latches on to, where there will be no more death, no more mourning or crying or pain. There is a time coming where He will wipe away every tear, where the old order of things will have passed away. Advent is also about a time where Christ is making all things new. As we enter this season of Advent, may you be reminded of the incredible miracle of Christ’s birth. May you sense the presence of Jesus in your heart and the hearts of family members and friends. And may your hope be attached to the coming promise of Christ’s return. He may not come twelve days from now, or twenty-five days in December, but we do know that his return is much closer now than it was when he came two thousand years ago.              Pastor Sid

Karin Terpstra