It was March 11, 1942, American General Douglas MacArthur was order to board a PT Boat in the middle of the night. That order came from President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Japanese forces were closing in on the Philippines and MacArthur was cut off from reinforcements. Fearing that MacArthur would be captured or killed by the Japanese, Roosevelt ordered the famed military commander to move to Allied Command Station in Australia. Upon leaving the Philippines and arriving safely in Australia, MacArthur, via a radio broadcast to the people of the Philippines, uttered his now famous saying, “I came through and I shall return.” From the command post in Australia, MacArthur made good on his promise, organizing air and sea strikes. Then, on October 20, 1944, he waded ashore on to Leyte Island and told the press waiting on shore for him, “I have returned.” This promise fulfilled, permanently etched MacArthur’s already illustrious career into the annals of history for all time.
Today, as my second series in this Christmas special comes to a close, we focus on the last candle of the advent season. This candle doesn’t need an introduction. If you have ever heard of the advent candles you are no doubt very familiar with the white candle at the center of the wreath. I speak of course of the white candle known as the CHRIST candle. This is the candle that your church usually lights during their Christmas Eve service (sometimes its the Christmas Day service depending on practices and timing of Christmas that year). This candle represents the light of Christ that lights the world as he enters it. Christ, the baby sent by God, God’s own son, come to light this dark world so that we may find our way to redemption through the blood of that very baby boy. Christ, the son of God, who became 100% God and 100% man, sent to live a perfect life only to give it for the imperfect people who can’t seem to even live a decent life. When I stop and think about everything that Jesus sacrificed to save someone like me, it’s very humbling and overwhelming; because it doesn’t begin or end with His death. He left His perfect seat next to the Father to come down to Earth and live the perfect example of how we all should live and love. He completed His perfect symphony of life to become the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for my sin, so that I may have a chance to gain heaven through his perfect salvation. (Have you picked up on the fact that everything He does is perfect?)
The Gospel of John begins with the oration that sums Christmas up:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).
This is the message that a child would be born, that he would deliver God’s people, Jews and Gentiles, from their sins, and through His death He would wash all of our iniquities away making us whole and blameless before the Father. WOW, WHAT A MESSAGE!!! But this is not a mere Christmas message. It is not simply about the birth of Christ and His arrival on Earth 2000 years ago. This is also an EASTER message. This is a message of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, AND LOVE. This is a message about our Lord who was tried by His own people and put to death on a cross and buried. This is a message about how the grave could not contain our Lord and this is a message that OUR GOD IS NOT DEAD. The fifth of candle is about the coming of the Christ child and we celebrate that with all of our hearts, but this is not a celebration of mere history. It is not just a celebration of what has happened. Like those who awaited that day 2000 years ago, we too are celebrating the coming of the Light. You see this resurrection story comes complete with its own built in sequel. We celebrate advent, not just to remember when Christ came, but we also celebrate in anticipation of our Lord, our God, our King that WILL COME AGAIN!!!!! Just as the light came to this world so many years ago, He promised to come again.
“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11)
Christ will indeed come again and when He does, He will be coming for His people.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
As we celebrate this advent season and as this segment comes to a close, remember that there is hope and peace in the coming of Jesus. A hope and a peace that harnesses true joy and contentment. This all comes from the love of our true King and Lord of our lives. And never lose sight of the fact that our celebration of advent is not a mere celebration of a historical event, but a celebration of anxious anticipation when the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords comes again. And on that glorious day, how I would love to be able to look my Savior in the eyes and hear him say, “I have returned.”
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach
Angie Mosteller. http://www.celebratingholidays.com/?page_id=1440.