During the season of Advent we will be singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” each Sunday. I believe this is important because we need to learn to pray,
“Come, Lord Jesus! Come and redeem us! Come to make us whole! Come to restore our broken world so that it will once again be what God created it to be! Come, Lord Jesus, to save us. Come to save our families– -and our neighbors– -and our world!”
But unfortunately we have let the crazies take over this whole matter of Jesus’; Second Coming. Cartoonists love to draw cartoons of old bearded men carrying signs that proclaim, “Repent! The end of the world is coming!”; I saw an amusing variation intended for people on Wall Street. It said: THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING; START PLEA BARGAINING.
But the late David H.C. Read, who served for decades as a New York City pastor, called us to rethink that. He said: “Sometimes, in a place like Times Square in New York City, I come across one of these shaggy, grim-looking characters bearing a sign that says ‘Prepare to meet thy God!’” He said “They are a favorite subject for cartoonists, and the assumption is that this is meant to be a terrible threat.But then he concluded “I would like to RESCUE these words from this connotation…If you stop to think about it, these words, ‘Prepare to meet thy God!’ are SPLENDID words– -For this is the ONE I want to meet!”
Dr. Read is telling us that we should look with joyful anticipation at the prospect of Jesus coming again. We should look with joyful anticipation at the prospect of Jesus repairing our broken world. We should look with joyful anticipation at the prospect of Jesus ushering in a new day– -a day when light will drive out the darkness, a day when God will reign supreme in people’s lives, a day of blessings. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!