December 2021

Turning and Returning

There are many, many things in this life worth waiting for. And, if you’ve been with me long, you will have known me to remark upon the exquisite luxury of anticipation. Expecting what will surely come has a way of making room for what is coming. The obvious example is a woman’s pregnancy. The months of waiting, wondering and hoping are part of the process of making room for the new little person.

There is a mysterious beauty in the long awaited. The Israelites were in deep longing during the four hundred years of silence. The generations came and went, and in all that time they were faithful to keep, as best they could, the law that had been given to keep them until the appearing of what had been prophesied. And, the promised Messiah did come, in the fullness of time.

There was, however, a crucial element in the preparing to make Him room: they had to agree that it was necessary for Him to come. Repentance and reconciliation are at the heart of the Christmas story. Turning from the darkness of separation from God, while turning to the glorious light of being made right with God.

Intriguingly, true repentance is the one choice we make that has an instant return. We wait and we long for the fullness of time in God’s unfolding story, and all along the way, we gain immediate access to His presence with genuine repentance. And what is genuine repentance? There are many Bible scholars, teachers and commentators who have addressed this topic with elaborate care, but for me it is simply a supernatural gift of grace that comes to me through faith. When my heart is broken and humbled by His holiness, and I move beyond my self, my sadness, and my human coping to accept the forgiveness He purchased for me, and the power of His love enables me to amend my thinking and my behavior.

As I practice repentance, returning again and again to His perfect presence and peace, I learn to turn quickly from the things that distract my mind, dull my heart, and hinder my forward march. As the writer of Hebrews admonishes, I shake off the sin which so easily entangles, so that I may run with endurance, the race that is set before me (Hebrews 12:1), pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Dear reader, in this season of Advent, are you preparing to make Him room in your heart? Have you asked Him to search you for any unclean motive? Let us make every effort to be rid of obstacles and blinders. Let us open our hearts and our eyes so that His appearing is so remarkably glorious to us that we unabashedly proclaim the good news of His once and future coming.

Until next week, beloved, turn again to our Savior and be transformed in the glorious light of liberty.

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