Summary: A sermon for Advent and preparing for Christmas.
“Looking Forward to the Second Christmas”
On this first Sunday of Advent our lesson focuses on the hope we have in the coming of Christ. As a child the Christmas Season was filled with hope. There was the hope that there would be snow on the ground on Christmas Day; there was the hope that there would be present under the tree on Christmas Day and because of those things, it was difficult to sleep the night of Christmas Eve. I still don’t sleep that well on Christmas Eve because I am excited for the day to come.
There are symbols all around our house and church to remind us that Christmas is coming. There are trees that decorate are home and church. I love preparing early Sunday morning by using only the Christmas light to go over my notes and to spend time in prayer. It is part of my Christmas tradition. The gift giving can distract from Christmas but Deb enjoys buying and giving of gifts and so the tradition continues to live on in our home. She enjoys watching her children and grandchildren open the gifts. It might not always be necessary but if it brings joy to the giver and not too much stress, it can be a great part of Christmas. I also enjoy the baking and all the sweets during this time of the year. I know I will pay for it when January comes around but it is still something that I enjoy.
I also look forward to the Christmas programs at church and school. I love seeing the joy in the faces of the children as they perform not only for their family but for Jesus. I know Jesus enjoys watching them speak their parts and sing praises to his name. The Christmas music has a way of lifting my spirits and I enjoy singing and listening to the music of the season. This is a season of hope because we know that Jesus came into the world on Christmas Day and his promise is that he will again return to this world. Just as we are now in the Season of Advent looking forward to celebrating the First Christmas, we are also in the season of the Last Days looking forward to and preparing for the Second Christmas.
THE HOPE OF A SECOND CHRISTMAS. When Jesus entered the world on that first Christmas, he brought with him a change of season. Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets talked about the last days; those days began when Jesus enter into the world. The last days will come to an end when Jesus returns for the second Christmas. You and I are living in the final chapter of God’s creation. It should not surprise you if Jesus would return at any moment. Although the last days began 2000 years ago, time is quickly moving forward to that moment when Jesus will return. The Second Christmas is on it way and preparing for Christmas reminds us of the importance of preparing for the second Christmas.
I believe that if we truly believe that the second Christmas is quickly approaching, it will have an effect on the way we live our life. The way we view God and the way we live in relationship with him is impacted by the fact that Jesus will soon be coming to this earth. Therefore, how we use our finances; how we live with other people; how we worship God is impacted our view of the second coming of Jesus.
How do we know that we have entered the final days until the second Christmas? We read in Hebrews: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last day he has spoken to us by his Son, who he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” Hebrews 1:1-2. There is no longer a need for the prophets who told of the future because Jesus has come and Jesus has revealed to us all that we need to know in order that we might be able to prepare for the 2nd Christmas.
Therefore, since, we now have the words of Jesus, what does Jesus have to say about his return? Jesus says many things but one of the things he says is this: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gather before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” Matthew 25:31-32. Jesus does tell us that there will be a time of judgment in which some will celebrate Christmas for all eternity with him and others will not. The invitation goes out to all people to celebrate Christmas with Jesus, however, if we don’t desire to celebrate Christmas with Jesus today, why would we want to celebrate Christmas with Jesus in eternity? Judgment according to Jesus is determined by our understanding of Christmas. Is Christmas and is life about what I can get out of it or what I can give away? Jesus indicates that if we are one of his children, we certainly won’t look at what we get but what we give away. As the second Christmas approaches our hearts are going to be open to give more of ourselves away.