Through the season of Advent, we rehearse the mysterious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We relive the manifestation of the Maker of all there is or, was, or ever will be in the delicate flesh and bone of a child—infinity swaddled in infancy and laid in a manger. In the retelling, we look forward to his next coming, a time when his rule and reign will be complete, a time when all sad things will be made untrue.
This past Sunday, we lit the Candle of Hope as a reminder of our future in Christ. Paul reminds us, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For we know that no one hopes for what he sees. But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25 emphasis mine)” One day, our patience will be fulfilled, and our hope will dissolve into sight as the glorious reality of Christ is revealed. On that day, “every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and those who are on the earth, and every tongue will confess: ‘Jesus Christ is Lord! (Philippians 2:10-11, emphasis mine)”
The classic worship song, “Come Now Is The Time to Worship,” offers a particularly interesting paraphrase of Paul’s words.
“One day, every tongue will confess You are God One day, every knee will bow Still, the greatest treasure remains for those Who gladly choose You now.”
Those last two lines highlight a subtle but profound contrast. All will confess. All will bow. Yet many who confess will bow under the weight of judgment (Romans 14:11), while those who gladly choose him now will worship in the fulfillment of their hope.
Church, let us celebrate this Advent with the anticipation of living hope.