Dr. Mark Allen Powell, a prominent New Testament scholar, always stops and looks with wonder to the sky on cloudy days. He does this because he believes the scriptures, which claim Jesus is coming back. Ever since he told me that, I have paused on cloudy days to look to the heavens with a smile – just in case this is the day. I have a lot more opportunities in Ohio than I did in Texas!
Are we ready to meet our Lord? The point of the season of Advent is to prepare to greet our Lord. Over the decades, Christmas has moved farther and farther back. This year, the day after Halloween, friends of mine were bragging on social media about pulling out their Christmas decorations and music. When other people made fun of them for rushing it, they responded with comments about their strong need for holiday cheer. I think that the more anxiety we have in our world, the faster people want to jump into the Christmas season.
No one is exempt from the suffering of this world. Everyone is aware that our Congress is in conflict; our President is facing serious charges; and even Supreme Court judges are accused of misdeeds. Trust in national leadership is at an all-time low – for people all along the political spectrum. And, as a result, people are seeking a Higher Power. From TV shows like the Good Place to pop music by For King and Country, God is finding Her way into people’s everyday lives.
It’s time for us to be bold with the name of Jesus. There are plenty of people on TV, radio, and street corners preaching about impending judgement. This narrative keeps people out of churches, because everyone gets enough doom and gloom in the evening news. Instead, let’s remind people that our creating, redeeming, and sanctifying God isn’t returning to hurt people, but to offer us eternal life. The world needs to hear that Jesus Christ has come, is here, and will come again specifically so that we can be with God for eternity. We are so well-loved that God joins us in this world of suffering just to be with us.
From the beginning of time to the end of time and beyond, God Almighty is radically loving us. On these many cloudy days ahead look for the Son with joy and wonder. When anyone around you feels despair about our current failings as a society tell them about the higher Authority in Whom you trust. Share the good news that Jesus was, is, and is to come! Invite them to celebrate that exact thing on December 24. That is truly the best gift you can give this season.