the fulfillment of Hope

as an eight year old trying to make it through a church service, i had to make use of whatever was in my reach—a difficult thing when squeezed on a pew between two grown ups. golf pencils and offering envelopes didn’t entertain me for long, so i usually resorted to only other thing nearby—a hymnal.

flipping through a hymnal during a church service was like flipping through a map of the 50 states on long car trips—it was forced to be interesting. when else would i willingly study a picture of kentucky’s highway system for entertainment?

near the front of the hymnal were the songs i knew. they were the ones that talked about silent nights and stars over bethlehem. songs about midnight clears and angels harking. i was thinking back to that section of Christmas songs on sunday. the past couple weeks (and these next ones too) our worship services have been full of advent and Christmas songs, but there’s been no mention of cattle lowing in any of them. No first noels either. yet, these songs which we sing all year long are soaked with the images of advent – the coming of God into our midst. this is one we’re singing this sunday. here’s the lyrics from the bridge:

chains be broken, lives be healed
eyes be opened, Christ is revealed

You’ll Come” (Brooke Fraser)

and another

just to know that You are near is enough
Heaven come down, God of heaven come down

Song of Hope” (Robbie Seay)

it’s a reminder to me that the point of Christmas (and by Christmas, i’m referring to a baby, manger, angels, magi…you know), has little to do with Christmas. Christmas is actually just an illustration of what’s to come. we remember that God came once so that we won’t forget He’s coming back—the fulfillment of hope. here’s how it was put in an 18th century hymn.

Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!

Lo, He Comes With Clouds Ascending
(1752, John Cennick, Charles Wesley)

whether you’re celebrating this advent season or not, use this Christmas as a time to look forward, not just look back.

Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.

(Isaiah 60)


~ by bradherndon on December 9, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: