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And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. – Revelation 21:2-6
For me, the joy of Advent is not produced by anticipation of God’s coming into our life in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That happened two thousand years ago. For me, the joy of Advent is produced by my anticipation of the Second Coming when God will bring to completion the salvation of the world which God initiated in the life and work of Jesus Christ. I believe that an almighty and gracious God was the absolute Beginning of all things and that all things will end in an almighty and gracious God who is the absolute End. The decisive event in this process was the victory over sin and death which God accomplished in Jesus. We have not yet seen the completion of this process, but we are sure of its coming. To use an analogy, the successful invasion of D-day in 1944 did not end World War II, but it assured that ultimate victorious end. Belonging to God in and through Jesus Christ does not deliver us from the pains and losses and sorrows of life between the cradle and the grave, but it does give us the joy of confidence that all of that is penultimate and that what is ultimate is a joyful life in God that is ahead for us and for those we love and for all of God’s creation.