Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Endless Waiting

As another Advent rolls around, we usually hear (above the din of Christmas carols and sale offers on Spotify) that Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of Christ. In a sense, Jesus has already come; He was born in a stable about 2,000 years ago, grew up to be a humble yet profoundly influential man, and was crucified at the tender age of 33. Then He rose from the dead, founded the Church, and went back to heaven, His true home. And He’s still up there, despite all the Pauline letters stating that He was going to come to earth again very soon.

Well, we all know now that Paul was a bit delusional, because it’s a long, long time after the fact and Jesus is still up there in heaven doing His thing, whatever the hell that is. And though certain radical religious groups have set specific dates for the end of the world, those dates pass like any other day, and we all chuckle to ourselves and say “Well, we’re still here!”

 So where is Jesus? Heaven knows this world needs Him again. What if He had never left earth after He rose from the dead? What if He lived in Seattle or Maui or an apartment in New York City? What if He was on TV and had His own radio show and His own Facebook page and Twitter feed? Would our world be any less violent? Any less hateful? Would there be more love, more goodwill, more Christmas cheer even when it’s not the Christmas season?

I have sometimes wondered if Jesus has forgotten that He’s supposed to come down here again and make all things new. But then someone made an offhand comment that really stuck with me. “Jesus knows exactly when He’s coming to earth again,” this person said. “He has it planned down to the last second, just like His first coming.” And when I thought about it, it really made sense: if He so carefully planned His birth for thousands of years, why not carefully plan His second coming down to the last day and hour?

Everyone expected a Savior, because God had promised it. No one was expecting the Savior to come to a stable in Bethlehem. No one expected the Savior take the form of a human being and become a helpless little baby shivering in a manger. Hell, they didn’t even know when He was going to show up, much less how! But He did come, at precisely the right time and the right place. No one could see it then, but now we can see it in hindsight. It was such a quiet event that no one really even knew what was happening. 

 Perhaps Jesus is already among us again, but we just haven’t noticed Him because we’re too busy watching for the fire and brimstone and glory. Jesus wasn’t a show-off coming to Earth, nor was He a show-off when He ascended into heaven; a cloud merely hid him from sight.

 Jesus is humble. He doesn’t want to make a big fuss, and neither should we, waiting for His second coming. It IS happening. He has it all planned. Are YOU ready?


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