Christmas is most often thought of as a time for remembering. We reminisce about our childhood, favorite presents, family members, and happy holiday celebrations. Of course, as Christians, we focus much of our memories upon Christ and His entrance into the world.
When Jesus arrived, He did so quietly. He tiptoed on to the planet and slipped into the warm lake of humanity. It was unlike much of our modern holiday customs that involve loud singing, boisterous laughter, and a gazillion lights strung across our houses.
In comparison to what He was to accomplish, Jesus’ arrival was subdued. With great modesty, He arrived to bring radical transformation to you and me. The world didn’t know it, but He was about to do something new.
In fact, His first advent accomplishes everything we need in order to be prepared for His second. Our faith in what Jesus accomplished during His incarnation is so that we can meet Him in the air when He returns.
While we consider the Jesus in the manger during Christmas, let’s remember that He will soon return to call us home. Here are three ways to think about how His first arrival will connect to His second coming.
1. He will bring salvation to those who wait.
In Hebrews 9:24-28, the writer taught that everyone will die and then there will be judgment. But because Jesus offered Himself to bear our sins, we’re awaiting the salvation that He brings. His first appearance was all about being the sacrifice. The work that Jesus accomplished was sufficient for all time, for all sin, and for all of us. All it requires is for you to believe that Jesus died on the cross in your place for your sin and rose victoriously from the grave.
Modern Christmas celebrations place the emphasis on the baby Jesus. But we must not leave Him in the manger. This is the God-man who conquered death and will return in blinding glory to call us home. He is awaiting the Father’s timing to fulfill this great portion of His mission. He accomplished the first portion through the cross and He will deliver the second portion by delivering us into our final victory. We should prepare for something new because when Jesus appears again it won’t be to bear our sin but to reward those whose sin has been washed away by His blood.
2. Jesus will rescue us from His wrath against sin.
The judgment that we were all under is solved by the Christmas delivery of the Christ child and the Easter miracle of the King’s resurrection. We sing of the peaceful and silent night into which Jesus was born. But was it?
The moment Jesus was born was like every other moment of history. Humanity was soaked in sin and our world along with it. When He took on flesh to live a perfect life and be a perfect sacrifice, it was with the divine knowledge that He would be surrounded by sinners. Nonstop. All of the time. Every waking and sleeping moment. Jesus arrived into the brutal Roman Empire that spared no innocent life in the pursuit of world domination. The days of Jesus were like the days before and the days after.
But Jesus came with merciful intentions. On His second arrival, it will be to rescue the church from judgment against sin and sinners. We humans pursue our own desires that merit nothing but divine wrath. We’re blessed to live with the knowledge that when He comes, it will be to deliver us from this doom. He may be arriving at any moment so we should celebrate the first advent with the hope of persuading our neighbors regarding their need to prepare for the second.
3. Jesus will deliver us into His presence.
In His second coming, we will be delivered into His presence. Not to just an eternal home somewhere in the heavens. Not to just a nice place. We will be in the presence of our Savior.
First John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is.” It’s an astounding thought. It’s something that has been withheld from us because our fragile minds and delicate physical systems could never withstand the enormity of His glory and presence. But on that day, we will see the Lord just as He is. It’s worth our time to prepare for the something new that He has delivered and will soon be delivering to us.