Christmas Future

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Titus 2:13 is speaking of Christmas’s Future when it says, “…waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

Anyone who was once a child on Christmas Eve knows something about waiting with hope. When I was growing up Christmas Eve was easily the longest day of the year. Forget what scientists say about the Winter solstice and days being shorter around Christmas time; trust me, it’s the longest day of the year for little boys and girls.

My brother, Job, and I shared a bedroom back then and it was an annual tradition for us to try and stay up and listen for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I can recall after being sent to bed I would lean over from the top bunk and whisper excitedly to Job on the bottom bunk. Back and forth we would talk as we listened for the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof. I was so excited that it seemed impossible that I could ever fall asleep, but at some point the whispering became less frequent and then stopped altogether, my eyelids would become heavier, my breathing would level out and then…visions of gumdrops would dance in my head. I was asleep.

And yet, even though I slept, I did not miss out on Christmas.

Above that deep and dreamless sleep the silent hours ticked by, until that glorious moment when my eyes blinked open and it was Christmas day! In the living room we would find the heavy stockings, the gifts and all the other Christmas surprises that bore mute testimony to the fact that our hopes had been vindicated.

You know, sometimes, at this time of year, I think we can catch just the slightest hint of what Heaven will be like. Christmas is a time when far flung loved ones are gathered home, and there’s a prevailing atmosphere of goodwill and cozy togetherness– The lights and decorations, the excitement, the feasting and music, festive gatherings, gift giving, a merry sense of wonder, and special times of worship. All of these things are but a pale foreshadowing of what will follow “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Christmas has always been a high-water mark of earthly joy for me, but, even so, this season stirs within me a longing for something even more joyous and more substantial. Smelling food cannot satisfy a person’s appetite. In fact, it will only arouse it all the more. So it is with Christmas. As good as this season can be doesn’t it arouse within your heart an appetite for something more substantial and satisfying that is yet to come?

How many generations of believers have looked excitedly for the promised day? They spoke often to one another about their hope in Christ as Job and I spoke with hope on those long ago Christmas Eves. They looked to the sky and listened for the trumpet, but at some point their limbs grew heavy, the spark went out of their eyes and their breathing stopped altogether.

And yet, even though they fell asleep they will not miss out on the promised day that they had longed to see. Christmas is about the hope that after all those deep and dreamless years of sleep in the grave those same eyes will blink open again and find that their hope in Christ will be vindicated.

A.J. Gordon once wrote, “A pilgrim’s portion, food and raiment and contentment therewith- the mansion which fortune has provided or the cabin which penury has reared- each alike counted a hospice where one lodges as ‘a pilgrim and stranger in the earth,’ and the grave a narrow inn whose windows look toward the sunrising, where the sojourner sleeps till break of day.”

I hope you can listen in for a special Christmas message entitled “Christmas’s Future.” We will be worshipping God through the study of His Words in Titus 2:11-14, but, honestly, I hope this Sunday never comes. I hope Jesus comes back before then.