Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending 3
“Ev'ry island, sea, and mountain,
heav'n and earth, shall flee away;
all who hate him must, confounded,
hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment, come away!”
One of the major themes in Advent is that of waiting. I suspect that, for most of us, we think of this in terms of waiting for Christmas. Advent calendars capture this idea well. They help us countdown the days until Christmas. I love Advent calendars, so much so that our family has two, plus an Advent wreath. They help us mark the time and invite us into contemplative reflection in days leading up to Christmas.
Yet Advent also has in view a different sort of waiting. That is, waiting for Jesus’s second coming. Jesus’s second coming is less cozy than the first. Whereas the first coming has Jesus entering the world humbly, being born in a manger, etc., the Bible describes His return in an awesome, eye-catching way, with trumpets blaring (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and descending from the clouds “in power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30) Advent invites us to reflect upon this expectation and to long for it.
Much of our eagerness to see Jesus come back is related to His judgment, when He will come as a just judge to reward His people and to punish the wicked (Revelation 11:18); when He will establish his rule and bring peace on earth. This is good news for Christians because it gives us hope that despite all that is wrong in our world—and there is much to be improved—one day Jesus will come to put things to rights.
So as we celebrate Advent this season, let us remember to pray for Jesus’ second coming–and for our spiritual preparedness for that day. And even as we wait patiently for that glorious day, let us also remember that we can endure injustice now because we know that Jesus is coming to renew all things. This is the great hope of Advent.
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7)