Summary: Even though Christmas is over for 2008, Christmas isn’t. Because Christmas is really just building to its final climax that will never disappoint and will never end.
One thing struck me this Christmas that strikes me every Christmas—and that’s how quickly it’s all over. You spend all that time decorating. You spend all that time shopping and getting ready. And then it’s over. Before we sat down for Christmas dinner, Mom said, “OK, we’re going to linger over dinner.” Well, we were all starved and the food smelled so good that I think we ignored her. But I know what she meant. She knew that Miranda had spent two days cooking. And when you spend two days cooking, I’m sure you’d like to have people enjoy it for more than a few minutes. But then, in what seemed like a few minutes, dinner that took two days to prepare was gone. And then just a short time later, all the packages that took weeks to shop for and wrap were opened. And then all that was left was cleanup and putting stuff together. Friday morning when I took out the trash, I thought… is that it? If it is, how depressing. If that’s all it is, how anti-climactic. Not disappointing… just not everything you hoped it would be. That’s the difference between our Christmas celebrations and the real thing. Because the real thing isn’t anti-climactic. As all the dust settles from our Christmas celebrations… and as all the trees and tinsel and decorations get put away for another year… I want you to look at it this way. Look at it like all of these years of Christmas celebrations aren’t the climax. They’re just building up to the climax. They are all the cooking and decorating and anticipating. They are the expectant waiting. The eager anticipation. They are hanging on the edge of our seat waiting for the ultimate Christmas climax. You see, because Christmas isn’t over. What we just celebrated this week isn’t over. When we put the tree and the decorations away, it’s not the end. It’s just another step in waiting for the climax of Christmas promised in the passage we just read. No, Christmas isn’t over. Christmas is just building to its great and final climax. A climax that will never disappoint. A climax that will never leave you wanting more. A climax that will never end. Christmas didn’t climax on December 25th, 2008. But Christmas will climax in a place, a position, a peace, a person and a payment. First, Christmas climaxes in a place. Look back at verses 1-2:
Christmas climaxes in a place. And what a place it is. Throughout history, God has promised a place of rest for His people. And God’s promises of a place have never ended. They will be literally fulfilled for Israel in the millennium. But even that will be a precursor to God’s ultimate climax. Because God’s ultimate Christmas climax is in a new heaven and a new earth. Do we know what it’s going to look like? Not really. There will be no sea. What does that mean? Your guess is as good as any of the dozens of commentators who have come up with their ideas. I tend to think that it has to do with the separation that came between peoples after the flood and the Tower of Babel. Geography changed after the flood and the God scattered the people and separated them using the boundaries of the oceans. Whatever it means, there will be no sea. There will be water. But the water will flow from the River of Life. The Bible uses language about a street of gold, jasper walls, and gates of great pearl. Is that literal language or figurative? I don’t know—I would say it’s figurative because our minds can’t comprehend the beauty of that place. Gold and jasper and pearl that we know of will be melted away with all the other things of this earth. So there is no way our minds can comprehend what it will be like. It’s like trying to describe a rainbow to a person who has been born blind. Or trying to describe a symphony to a person who has been born deaf. The point is not that we’re going to see a lot of gold or that gold is so common that it’s used to pave streets. The point is that the holy city, New Jerusalem is going to be more glorious than our feeble fallen minds can comprehend. It is a place that God is preparing as His glorious bride. Does that sound familiar? It should. Because when Jesus saves you, He saves you as part of His church. And in Ephesians 5, He describes His church as His bride. Church, we are being prepared as the bride of Christ… to one day be presented to Him as without spot or wrinkle or any blemish. To be presented to Him as holy and blameless before Him. We are being prepared as His bride, just like the holy city New Jerusalem is being prepared for Him. Since God isn’t a bigamist, that can only mean one thing. That can only mean that we, as the church are part of the New Jerusalem that will come down from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. As Peter said in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” What a place that will be! A new heaven. A new earth. A new holy city Jerusalem, filled with the church of all ages. That will be the climax of Christmas! Christmas climaxes in a place. It also climaxes in a position. Look at verse 3: