In this series we’ll reflect on the Advent Scriptures in the Revised Common Lectionary as a way of enabling us to celebrate the birth of Christ.
27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27-28 ESV)
As a very young child, the happiest day of the year was also the saddest–Christmas Day. I anticipated that day as much as any child ever has. I counted the months, the days, the hours and the minutes. I couldn’t wait to open my presents on Christmas morning.
But all that anticipation was over in about ten minutes. In about ten minutes all the wrapping paper was removed, the bows were strewn across the room, my presents were unveiled and that was that. I had such a pit in my stomach each year when I realized I was opening my last present. I wanted Christmas to go on and on and on.
In more significant ways, I suppose we all do. ”Redemption” is the word Jesus uses in our Christmas text above. Redemption is what Jesus came to bring that first Christmas Day. And redeem he did. His ministry was an astounding period of handing out the present of redemption.
And yet…that redemption still seems incomplete. We yearn for more of it. Our world seems to need more of it. There are still broken lives and fractured homes and shattered societies. We need the redemption of the one in the manger like never before.
And this, Jesus promises, is what will happen upon his return. He came first in the manger. He’ll come again in majesty. And when he arrives again, the redemption started at his birth will be completed. All will be restored. Fully. Completely. Irreversibly.