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At Christmas—Looking to Christ's Second Advent

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

At Christmas time, we celebrate the wonder of the birth of Jesus. During this season, we often read Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth. From this gospel, we learn of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel’ which translated means, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23). When God in flesh entered the world, He began to dwell among us as Immanuel. In the third stanza of the Christmas carol, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” the author pens:

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high, And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

At Christmas, we celebrate the beginning of Christ dwelling with us—his “drawing nigh” to “disperse the gloomy clouds of night.” Christ, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us as our Immanuel (John 1:14a). However, at his First Coming or Advent, the nation of Israel did not perceive that God in the person of Jesus Christ had come. Through the nation of Israel, Christ “was oppressed and He was afflicted” by the very people he came to save (Isa. 53:7). The apostle John writes, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). The “Dayspring” came down from on high, and a Light shined in the darkness for those who would receive him.

Due to Christ’s rejection at his first coming, he was crucified. God raised him from the dead, and he now sits at the right hand of God in heaven. Christ sent his Holy Spirit to live in our hearts providing salvation from sin, as well as his comforting, empowering presence. Because of this, Christmas is also a time for us to look forward to Christ’s Second Advent or Coming when he will put “death’s dark shadows” to flight for eternity. At that time, in the New Heaven and Earth, Christ will dwell with us as Immanuel more fully than ever before.

"And death's dark shadows put to flight."

Revelation tells us that we will see his face—that he will tabernacle among us “wiping away every tear” from our eyes (Rev. 21:3-4). There “will no longer be any death…any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Rev. 21:4). Christ, as the bright morning star, will illumine the New Jerusalem as God dwells with us there. (Rev. 22:16). This Christmas, as we ponder and celebrate Immanuel’s first coming, remember and rejoice that he will return again “drawing nigh” to dwell with us forever!

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