There has been extensive media coverage of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow nearing its end as I write. World leaders have assembled to address the important issues and commit to change the course of events. Our lives certainly have an impact on the world that belongs to God. The passion stirred up shows how we are concerned about the future, which affects how we are to live now. We want world leaders to step up and save the world! It’s a tall order. Who can do so?
It may all seem like a far cry from a Christmas letter in this magazine. Yet, the very celebration of Christmas has at its heart something which determines our future forever. The idea of a new creation, unspoilt and eternal, contrasts sharply with what we see now. It is in desperate need of intervention.
The Bible speaks of how God has intervened through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ first coming (his advent) meant that through his ‘incarnation’ God revealed himself in the man Jesus Christ: “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1v14a). This testifies to the great love of God for the world to have sent His only begotten Son. He is ‘Immanuel’ (God with us), yet humbly lived and died on the cross for our forgiveness. Jesus came to reconcile us to God and makes us into a new creation.
Jesus has a second coming (his parousia) in the future. He will return in glory and majesty to carry out judgment and take all who belong to him to enter the new creation. What will it look like? The last book of the Bible reveals all: ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also, he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21v1-5).
The first and second comings of Jesus Christ bring about restoration: the restoration of our spiritual life and that of the whole of creation. Isn’t this the world we all want? It is secured through Jesus Christ. Join us this Christmas to celebrate Jesus who came to save the world.