As we have done in years past, we are again blogging our way through the Advent Lectionary readings. We love this season as it allows us to take time to slow ourselves down and walk between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is time for us to live in full knowledge of the “Now” of the Kingdom without rushing the “Not Yet” of the Kingdom. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Our prayer is that these posts will serve as devotional meditations to focus your heart and mind on the imminent coming of our King!
A reading from the Book of Romans.
But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work He began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
— Romans 13:11-14 (The Message)
The Word of God for the people of God.
One of our great pleasures in our ministry is being able to share with the Body of Christ in the West what God is doing around the globe. How He is working to bring people to Himself. How His people are preparing the way for the Kingdom to come.
We see these evidences of Kingdom coming on every continent. We see it happening in situations where it doesn’t look (at least on the surface) like anything good could come out of them.
The Kingdom is coming!
Paul, in this letter to the church at Rome, uses a beautifully poetic phrase to tell the church to be ready for the Kingdom. “The night is about over, dawn is about to break,” he proclaims.
Zechariah in his prayer/prophecy over his son, John the Baptist, uses this same language:
…Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace. (Luke 2:78-79, The Message)
The Kingdom is coming.
God’s Sunrise is breaking in.
Dawn is upon us.
Light emerging out of the darkness.
Orderly order coming out of chaos.
And, here, on our way to the manger, we sit in the near dark. One candle lit, three yet to go, and then that beautiful Eve before the dawn of Christmas, when we light the Christ-candle.
Isn’t that a bit like our own lives? We sit in the light that we know God has graced us with. We shine in dark places as that light. We gather with other lights and bring brighter spots on the globe. All the while knowing that soon, God’s Sunrise will break through.
We live not longing for light. Rather, we live as light longing for brighter light.
That’s the beauty of the Kingdom. We don’t just yearn for heaven. We live out heaven both in the here and now as well as in the not yet. Therein lies our hope. Not that we can’t experience the Shalom–nothing missing and nothing broken–of God now, but rather that it comes to us now.
In bits and pieces.
Like the breaking of the dawn.
It starts as a flicker in the sky. Then a line across the horizon.
And, even though it comes to us now, we also know that there will come a day when it’s fully realized. When the sun is bright and high in the sky.
In our text, Paul gives us some instructions on how we should live in this in-between time:
Be up and awake to what God is doing!
We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter or linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
Don’t sit as a lone candle in the darkness. Be on the move! Following the Spirit where He leads. Using your candle to light other candles.
Until the whole world is awash in the Risen Son!