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Life lived in perpetual Advent

December 14, 2010 No Comment

by Ian Adnams

Think back a year. The world was caught in the swirl of swine flu or, more correctly, H1N1 virus. People waited in vaccine lines. Everyone learned how to sneeze into their sleeves and relearned proper hand-washing techniques. When officials tallied the final figures, they estimated about 8.7 million cases of H1N1 flu worldwide, and sadly about 18,000 deaths. However, the annual flu usually causes at least 250,000 deaths. The question on everyone’s mind is whether the World Health Organization had issued a false alarm or if the vaccinations worked really well.

Now think back 11 years. The world waited for the turn of the millennium. Does Y2K sound familiar? Five years ahead of the year 2000 computer experts issued a warning that many computer systems would not function properly once the first two digits in date codes changed from 19 to 20. Failure to make any changes would lead to catastrophe experts told us. Around the world people updated their computers and waited as the calendar moved forward and the clock ticked down to 2000. Then—nothing. Was our preparation so good that we averted the predicted Y2K disaster, or was there nothing to worry about in the first place?

And now we are waiting for the world to warm. (Those of us in the northern part of the northern hemisphere especially!). The once daily dire predictions of climate calamity are not as frequent any more. The reliability of some alarmist’s data is in question. Why should we trust a long-range climate prognosis when we can’t accurately predict the weather 24 hours in advance?

Then there’s God with His predictions or more correctly, prophesies. How does He stand up to scrutiny?
Last time I checked He was, in baseball terms, “batting 1000.” In other words, His predictions are trustworthy and He keeps His promises.

For example:
• God told Noah He was going to destroy the world in a flood and He did.
• God promised Abraham his descendants would become a great people and a blessing to the world. They are.
• God predicted through the prophet Micah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. He was.
• Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke of the virgin birth of God’s Chosen One. It happened.
• Jesus predicted the ruin of Jerusalem by the Romans. It happened in 70 AD.
• Our Lord told His disciples He would rise from the dead. He did.
And these are just a handful of promises and prophesies.

But not all prophesies are fulfilled. Scripture tells us Jesus will return! We can’t check that one off our list yet.

We are still waiting, in anticipation. It’s like our Christian life is spent in a perpetual season of Advent—a season of waiting and preparation, never knowing when the great final day will happen.

And it’s been that way for 2000 years. Even the Apostles expected Christ’s return at any time. That didn’t keep them from their daily business of proclaiming God’s salvation.

Some have tried predicting the day of Christ’s return. Obviously, they were wrong because we’re all still here!
After almost 2000 years perhaps there’s some complacency; we are bored waiting. Instead, our challenge from the Lord Himself is making sure we present every possible opportunity for people to hear the Gospel and respond in faith to God’s amazing, forgiving love shown to the entire world in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In the meantime, we again celebrate His first coming, trying to understand how infinite God wraps Himself in finite flesh because he loves me and you! “What wondrous love is this!”

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