– written by Mark Bennett
When my daughter, Rachel, was about 10 years old, we were visiting friends with two daughters, one 3 years older than Rachel and one, Kristin, a year younger. As we almost always did, we were taking the girls on some outing, the details of which escape me now. There were too many of us to ride in one car, so we split up. We had only traveled about a mile when the phone rang and Kristin’s mom asked if Rachel and Kristin were with us.
That wasn’t a good sign, right?
We immediately turned around and returned to their home to find Rachel and Kristin standing in the driveway in tears. They were scared, but there they stood, in full expectation that we would come back. They jumped into our arms, the tears stopped, and they began to laugh.
It is with this same confidence that we should celebrate Christmas… and Easter… and live our lives each and every day. In full confidence, we can live knowing that Jesus will keep the promise that he made so long ago.
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. – John 14:1-3
When we are living in the most abject pain imaginable, with the most uncertainty about our job, with the loneliness of losing to death someone we love, with the turmoil of a troubled marriage, with sickness, we can be fully confident that Jesus will keep that promise.
John 14 is far from the only hopeful promise that Jesus made to us. Writing about what Jesus had shown him concerning eternity, the apostle John recorded, “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.'” (Revelation 21:3-4) That is something for which we can hope, to which we can look forward.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, keep in mind that it represents one more step in God’s plan for us. The promise of Christmas means nothing without the horror of the cross. The cross meant nothing without the miracle of the empty grave we celebrate at Easter. And Easter is incomplete without the return of Jesus to take us home. That is something to which we can look forward this Christmas.
Mark Bennett is one of five Elders at Southern Hills Christian Church. He is married to Laura. They enjoy traveling together and spending time with their new grandson.