Monday, December 31, 2007

A Final Reflection for Advent: Yearning for Christ, The Bridegroom

The official church calendar has concluded the 2007 advent season, but the beginning of a new year seems to be the appropriate time to remember that the season of advent is not just a chronologically displaced yearning for Israel’s Messiah who has already lived among man.

The characteristic celebrations of the past month in preparation for Christmas have been meaningful in their remembrance of the becoming love of God but the scriptures remind us that the call of our lives is to engage daily and yearly in another form of anticipatory waiting. As Paul writes to the Romans, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. ..We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

If the prevailing scriptural image of Israel awaiting her Messiah was that of subjects anticipating a mighty King, perhaps it could be said that the prevailing scriptural image of the New Testament Church awaiting Jesus Christ’s return is that of a bride longing for her Bridegroom.

I am not sure if human relationships could conjure any image more intensely anticipatory than a bride waiting for her bridegroom. I am not sure if any other relationship known among mortals would cause the stir of longing and hope and joy than the expectation of union that a bride hides in her heart for her groom. The emotion of this yearning is captured so powerfully in this short clip of a military wife waiting for her husband’s return from deployment.

Do I love Him more than that? Do I anticipate being united with Christ that much?
As we change calendars and cross the threshold from 2007 to 2008 and consider all of our hopes for the future, may the reminder of our identity as Christ’s bride direct and mold our heart’s affections.