Greetings in Christ’s name!
I grew up thinking that when Jesus returned, he was going to take all his faithful ones off to heaven and leave all the unfaithful ones here on earth to suffer some kind of doom. But throughout my adolescence, I didn’t want Jesus to return because I wanted to get married and have a family before that happened—after all, Jesus had once said that at the resurrection people wouldn’t be getting married. I wasn’t astute enough to notice the difference between “at the resurrection” and my idea of Christ’s return. I just wanted to get married before Jesus came back.
As I’ve grown older and read the scriptures more carefully, my ideas about Christ’s return have become more sophisticated. There have been times when I’ve longed for the Lord to come and set all things right, bring heaven and earth together and rule over everything and everyone. I’ve longed for it because so many things seem wrong, off kilter, or unjust. Isaiah’s 64th chapter opens with that sentiment, “If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!” Though the prayer belies an outdated cosmology in which God was “up there” and humans were “down here,” we can still tell what the appeal was. It was a cry for God to remove the barrier between God’s space and human’s space and make all things right and well. And that is the hope of Advent.
During the season of Advent, we look back to celebrate the coming of Christ in the person of Jesus. But we also look forward to Christ’s coming once again—a coming that we hope will remove any barrier between God’s full presence and humankind; a coming that will make all things right and well. This week, as you encounter all of the Christmas season hustle and bustle, remember the hope of this season—that God would “tear open the heavens and come down.” Perhaps Isaiah’s prayer will become your own as you hope for the Lord’s coming.
We are a people who want not only the blessings of God in our lives, but we want to be conduits of those blessings to others. One of our hopes is to be people who bless those around us through loving, giving and serving acts. This Advent season we can do that in many ways, but let me point you to three ways our church is serving this year:
· First, we are helping to provide Christmas gift bags for seniors in the greater Houston area who receive Meals on Wheels. The bags are simple to construct, but will be a big blessing for the recipients. If you would like to help prepare some bags, please follow the instructions here: https://friendswoodfriends.org/2020/11/19/gift-bags-for-shut-ins/ We’ll be delivering them December 14th.
· Secondly, we are donating to EFM, our Friends mission arm. You can give very practical gifts like chickens, pigs, blankets, hygiene kits, etc to people around the world by going to: https://friendsmission.com/christmas/
· Lastly, we are delivering food. Are you aware of anyone who needs food this holiday season? Let Carter Powell or Josiah Brown know about the need. They’ll be happy to pack up food from the food pantry to deliver locally or they can put together some food for you to share with whoever needs it. Contact Josiah (Josiah@friendswoodfriends.org, 405-240-6680) or Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to set something up. Thanks!
During this season of waiting and watching, may God’s Spirit infuse you with energy and passion so you’re enabled to love those around you with the love of Jesus our Savior.