My brother abides in the north. It takes an hour and a half to two hours to reach his dwelling: all dependent on construction and the amount of Pearl Jam I listen to. Three particular things I love among a menagerie more: Iowa, driving, and my brother. The drive through these sacred hills and hollows has always struck me as agreeable. 235 horses hitched to three open windows and a bed tagging along as caboose is the only way to fly. Curious, I know, but I am just a boy from Black Hawk County, and if one goes back far enough in my lineage it’s all dust and evictions from paradise, anyway.
On the way north one will encounter 3 signs. One announces the town of Honey Creek. The second announces the town of Loveland. And last but not least is a large white billboard that has seen better days. It simply announces in red caps, “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD – AMOS 4:12”
As stars rush by on a night drive somewhere between Loveland and Honey Creek one can almost imagine terrified shepherds hearing the mother of all birth announcements (Luke 2:8-15). Pinterest has no retort. Sometimes things cannot be out-crafted.
Prepare to meet thy God, indeed.
In the days when God cried and cooed on earth there were those who had long waited to meet their God.
The good doctor Luke writes in Luke 2:21-38 of Simeon and Anna.
Now, Simeon was a righteous fellow looking for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not taste death until he set his eyes upon the Lord’s anointed.
There’s no telling how long Simeon had been yearning to lay his weary head to rest, but his reaction to seeing the Lord Jesus being carried into the temple to be presented to the Lord was one of joy.
At last, joy.
“Then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word ; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.’” —Luke 2:28-32
His Mother and Father stand there slack jawed as the strange old man grabs their son and proclaims, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation!”
Simeon held the Lord of all that is, in His arms. Little did Simeon know those little hands would be crucified for sinners.
That child’s body would grow into the body of a working man, and would be murdered as way of Atonement for people like us. That working man’s murdered body would walk out of the grave three days later, ascend to heaven, and return thousands of years later: His ancient crucified body still very much alive.
Do you still believe?
All this hullabaloo attracts 84-year-old prophetess Anna, whom the KJV describes as “a great age.”
This Never-Leaves-the-Temple-Anna of a great age begins to thank God and tell all whom were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem good news.
These two had long been preparing to meet their God. The joy of that day in the temple, long ago, is a 5’oclock shadow compared to the jubilation Christians shall experience when we see Him, just as He is, face to face, after all this time (1 Corinthians 13:12, 1st John 3:2, 1 Peter 1:8-12).
The season of Advent is once again upon the Church Militant. Twenty centuries of Advent has a way of piling up. Advent: the season of the Churchly calendar wherein we take time to stand in awe of the Incarnation. Advent is the season we give due honor to that moment in time and space when the divine invaded our groundling realm as one of us. And so it was that the Lord’s anointed was born of flesh and blood in order to preach that being born of flesh and blood was no longer as important as receiving Him and being born anew (John 1:1-14, John 3:1-21).
We may find this present age to be like an old truck driving an endlessly long road between Loveland and Honey Creek.
Christian, if you are world-weary of this sojourn of ours in this age between the two advents of Christ, take heart.
Whether death ushers us gently into His presence, or He returns in great glory and power with the hosts of heaven: our eyes shall see salvation.
Allow me to leave you with words to live by as we celebrate His first advent and anticipate His second.
May they give you fodder for thought on a drive somewhere.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” —Titus 2:11-14
Evan Welcher is senior pastor of First Christian Church in Glenwood, Iowa. Husband of the lovely Danielle. Evan graduated with a B.S. in Bible from Emmaus Bible College in 2005. Evan’s goal in ministry is to stir up love for Jesus Christ by the giving of great care and fidelity to the teaching of the scriptures. He blogs at EvanWelcher.com.