We’ve likely all experienced beautiful sunrises in various places. Perhaps a never-ending ocean? An expansive high desert where one can see forever? A peaceful Smoky Mountain lookout? The broad Texas or Oklahoma plains? Your own backyard with multicolored sky? We’re reminded that day is not ending, but gloriously beginning.
“O Holy Night” gives us imagery of the first Advent with the line, “for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” But the reality of Christmas is Jesus’ birth was not the end of the story but a renewed first breath. The story does not end in Christ’s death, resurrection, and return to heaven. The story continues in you and me, and it will continue because of God’s promise of Jesus’ second coming… a second Advent.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son…And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. – Revelation 21:1-7, 22-27 ESV
The Advent of Jesus and God’s Kingdom in Revelation tells us that we won’t just pick-up and fly away to some unknown place. Rather, a new heaven and a new earth will unite God’s realms. There will be a level of familiarity but with all things made new… truly a “new and glorious morn!”
Jesus’ first Advent is the way to his second Advent. And in that we will experience a wonderful kingdom, a place of perfect goodness and beauty, and where Jesus will receive the worship of all nations. Merry Christmas and joy to the world!
Lord, in our worship and gratitude, we celebrate and give thanks to you that a baby born, Jesus, has become the focal point of all history and of all creation. We recognize that each day you give us “a new and glorious morn,” hope in our weary lives, and an eternity spent in your presence and joy. Amen.