It’s Christmas – a time when families and friends gather together to celebrate. Hopefully, the occasions are marked with remembrances of Christ’s birth. However, even the most secular amongst us often view this time as an opportunity to join with those that they love dear. They might not recognize the reason for the celebrations, but celebrate they do just the same.
I think its appropriate that as when remember Christ’s first arrival on this Earth that we remember that our anticipation should be for His return. I was struck recently by one of the most common passages in Scripture, John 3:16. This verse tells of the coming of the Heavenly Son, sent as a babe to visit His Creation The subsequent verse tell us the purpose of this visit. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him”. (v. 17). Christ’s arrival was a visit prompted by love seeking reconciliation.
I think its a motive we can all relate to. How many of us have arrived at our holiday celebrations longing to see again those that we love? How many have arrived seeking restoration? We know what its like to be separated; the holidays remind us of what it is to be together.
The noteworthy thing is that this was the purpose of Christ’s first visit. The purpose of His second is much different. The Son’s initial arrival was a demonstration of His love, upon His return Christ will be here to judge. His first visit was not about condemnation, but in the second all will be acknowledged before Him. “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:
” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.” – Romans 14:10b-11
As we celebrate His first arrival, let us not neglect to anticipate His second. And to make sure that our response to each is the same.