This Advent I have decided to spend time meditating (thinking) on the three ‘comings’ of Christ.
The first coming is describe in John chapter one “The Word,” the pre-existing Second Person of the Godhead, “became flesh.” Hands which flung stars into space, now tiny, reached to grasp a virgin mother. The mind-blowing descent of Christ exemplified in the Incarnation deserves much thought and awe inspired worship. Each year I feel that we too quickly pass over the enormity of this event. The Creator of the Cosmos taking up residence in a creche. The condescending love of God, ought to fill us with a joy inexpressible and full of glory.
The second, and often overlooked coming, is less cosmic and more personal. At some point the Saviour comes to each individual. We come to know him as Saviour and acknowledge Him as Lord in our personal life. In the words of the Carol “Where needy will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.” Jesus comes to each of us with his wonderous gift of love and life, and though he never departs (nothing can separate us from the love of God) we stray, and we experience his ‘coming’ again and again! It is this ‘coming’ that is often ignored, but without this second personal coming and persistent staying where would we be? This ‘coming’ make effectual the first ‘coming.’ In his original birth announcement Jesus is proclaimed “Saviour and Lord” and in this second personal experience this coming makes it so, for each of us. As an Evangelist my calling is to draw people to an awareness of the possibility of this ‘coming’ and to persuade people to co-operate with this ‘coming.’
This second ‘coming’ is also the coming by which Jesus comes to his Church (those who have experienced his personal second ‘coming’) and through and in partnership with the Church He engages in putting right that which has gone so wrong. He is active in this mode to bring love and justice as his Bride the Church moves in concert with him.
The third ‘coming’ is often referred to as “The Second Coming.” This is an event in the future in which the Ascended Christ returns not meek and mild but in majesty and glory! He will come to finally and completely put things right. This future coming fills his Bride with hope and purpose. During the time of his incarnation Jesus asked about this return “Will he find faith?” The Church actively waits and works so that corporately we can answer in the affirmative.
In our darkest moments we take comfort in this ‘coming.’ Though we experience injustice and pain it is transitory. As we meditate (think) on these things we are inspired to worship and work and witness.
Advent gives us a season to ponder these very things so that we can engage in these three great tasks.