A famous holiday song starts out with these lyrics:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
I started thinking about this song today because of how unlike Christmas it feels to me right now. It’s December 3rd and I feel too hot eating warm soup and wearing a flannel shirt. It’s 66 degrees outside. If it wasn’t for the seasonal items for sale and the lights on houses I might have no idea December 25th was approaching. I think I expect things in Kansas to be a bit different than they were in California but I’m not complaining. A white Christmas would be cool but these warm days are most welcome.
The thing that I never noticed until today about the song mentioned above is that it never mentions cold or snow at all. There are other signs that reveal it’s almost Christmas. It mentions candy canes on display and glowing lights, toys in stores, holly on your door, Christmas trees, bells ringing, and carol singing. These are the signs of Christmas that Meredith Willson pointed to in his composition of this song, which I think was pretty smart since many people don’t have cold and snow for the holidays.
The Bible talks a lot about signs of an even greater event on the horizon than the highly commercialized Christmas that we’ve come to know. The story of Jesus’ birth can often play second fiddle to Santa Claus and new stuff though it was certainly critical to the event you likely know I’m writing about, the second coming of Jesus! The first advent fulfilled so many promises/prophecies from the Old Testament. With the second advent and its aftermath we will see the fulfillment of the rest. Jesus’ first coming showed us God’s love for us that is stronger than death. Jesus’ second coming will save His followers from death and move us towards the happily ever after our hearts yearn for.
I’d encourage you to look at Matthew 24 to see some of the signs of Jesus’ return. There Jesus shares what wars, famines and earthquakes have to do with the end. He speaks of the persecution of His followers and love of most growing cold. He refers to false messiahs and signs in the heavens and how ultimately no one but God the Father knows the exact date of the second advent.
But there is a sign that can be personally experienced by all of us reminding me of the lyric:
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door
Jesus says in Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The good news will be spread with or without us but the reason it’s my favorite sign is that we can actually be some of the signs of Jesus’ soon coming.
Just as there are signs that let us know Christmas is just a few weeks away, we can be signs that let people know that our long expected Jesus will be here sooner than we would otherwise realize.
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as the evangelist type. Evangelist simply means “gospel sharer.” And I think that if you are reading this blog you probably know enough gospel to share and this is a gift you can enjoy and experience all the more as you regift it to others. How will you share what you have received?
Maybe it’s through Christmas presents you give. Maybe it’s practicing hospitality by inviting “outsiders” or “loners” to come in to your holiday meals and treating them like family. Maybe it’s donating to an organization that shares the hope of Jesus. Maybe it’s sharing kind words or giving great hugs or spending time with people who need those things. It could be all of the above and more. Whatever you can do, I’d encourage you to pray to God for guidance and to do what He leads you to. It will only increase your joy and make the season even brighter.
Be a sign of the event that makes this life hopeful even when it’s hard. Share the hope of Jesus’ second coming this Advent season. It’s the prettiest sight you will ever see. - Pastor Nick