This Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on this deep and incredible commitment God has made – becoming human. We’ll consider four areas where Christ’s coming creates a new paradigm for the way we live.
Our theme in week four is Future. Not only did Jesus come to earth once, he plans to return to bring full restoration to the world. Looking toward a new heaven and earth gives us hope for a future that is pure and real and physical where we will be with God in his presence. We can then endure through the hardships of this life and live righteously with expectation for his future return.
This is for a gospel m-m-movement
When our family moved to the North Shore in 2017 from the warm, sunny, palm-tree lined streets of Southern California, we determined to jump head- first into the winter experience. Though we anticipated our integration into New England winters with a bit of trepidation, we knew we were called here, so we bought our coats, and dove in. I still remember Stephanie saying, through shivering breaths, “This is for a gospel m-m-movement on the N-n-orth Shore!” as we loaded our two young kids into a snow-covered car.
Well-meaning friends peppered us with good advice (“pick a winter sport!”, “embrace it!”), and though their counsel prepared me to make it valiantly—in my view—through February, nobody told me about March or April. March and April, when my body is worn down from a long winter, and my friends from warmer states are sharing photos of outdoor spring activities – these are the hardest months for me. It may sound trivial, and perhaps I’m just more of a slave to comfort than others, but as the fully embodied creature that I am, my longing for the comfort, brightness, and even the lifestyle that comes with the warmer months is more than passing daydream.
But I’ve seen God’s grace in these months, too. These late winter months have trained me to stake my hopes on the new world that Jesus is bringing at his return. I’ve actually told friends and other staff members, “If I thought that this life was all there is, and didn’t believe that Jesus was bringing his kingdom to earth, I probably wouldn’t live here”—and meant it. However, I truly feel free to love the North Shore, the people here, and even, in a “love-hate” kind of way, that awful March weather, because I know the new heavens and new earth will be fine-tuned for my creaturely flourishing. Whether New Jerusalem will be like San Diego year round, or will have a perfect, four-season variety, with only a small, magical dose of pre-Christmas winter, I leave up to the loving creativity of God, but either way, I say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” And get this wimp a warmer coat…
Story by Ben Friedman
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