The comings of Christ are always covered with angels shouting their hearts out. That night on the slopes with the shepherds, they burst onto the scene with white hot light and a praise chorus to rival all the chamber choirs and tribal halleluiahs combined. Those shouting angels ushered in the quiet coming of God in humble human form with just a glimpse, a momentary peek into the glory-party that was shaking the earth unnoticed. It’s hard to imagine such a scene, without feeling like you’re watching a superhero movie where everything seems surreal and fantastical. But it’s the most Real Reality any of us could ever hope to know, and we return to it again and again to remind ourselves it happened… and will happen once more.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thes. 4:16
The archangel will bellow like thunder and the whole world of anguished waiting, of a creation longing for true love, for realized hope, for lasting peace, will be changed. The One who said, take heart, I have overcome the world, will come to the world once more.
On the streets of our Chinese cities, we hear shouts all the time: the parade of hired drummers who advertise a new store opening (that will likely soon be closed again), the recording that blares from a makeshift megaphone beckoning any who need their knives sharpened or their computer fixed, the shouts of neighbors down below battling out some argument with a crowd of onlookers. Though the raised voice and excited tone is meant to draw our attention, over time we grow accustomed to the sound and start to tune out all the shouting. It becomes a sort of backdrop to life in China.
Our hope in the return of Christ can sometimes feel like that… a backdrop that we know is there but don’t really think about or notice anymore. Advent reminds us to center our gaze once again on the Coming of Christ, past and future, and to let it reign with power in our lives.
Therefore, encourage one another with these words. We shall see our Lord coming again. The heavy weight of today is offered up with a transfixed gaze on the soon and coming King. Because our light and momentary troubles do not seem so light or momentary just now. But we have the first Advent to remind us that the angels were no joke, and we will hear their shout once again.
Prayer for today:
Oh Lord, I worship you today as my Coming King.
I come to you with my fears and troubles, offering them in faith as I remember the way you came in humility all those years ago, and will come again in victory. O God of peace, sanctify me entirely; may you keep my spirit, soul and body sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because you have called me and you are faithful, I believe you will do this. Amen.