This time of year can often be hard for individuals and it’s common for our unresolved hurts and pains to be amplified during this Advent period. It’s not that we don’t know the truer meaning behind the seasons emphasis: Christ has come, and He truly is our Immanuel, our ‘God with us’ – who has paid for us in full. But the gatherings or lack thereof can create a feeling of absence in our lives that is especially poignant during the month of December. A season of great excesses can do much to expose the voids and hurts we find in our lives.
This time of year promises big things, just look at the Christmas movies that come out. They almost all are essentially the same movie, which sends the same message over and over again. What’s the message? That there can be utter chaos before Christmas, but by end of Christmas day, things will be resolved. Everything will fall into place, and all the chaos leading up to this fateful day will be made right by the day itself. Even if you almost shoot your eye out, and the neighborhood dogs break into your house and eat your turkey. Nothing can put a damper on Christmas– not even a plate of Peking duck with the head still attached.
I would argue that such a premise while appealing, while having allusions to our grander hope – has biblical gaps. Maybe Christmas morning will be your best morning out of all 365 this year, but the reality is, in this life, we walk a road where God assures us of some more in the here and now – before there is no more.
What do I mean by some more? I mean there are some more struggles ahead, some more suffering before us, some more tests of our endurance to continue in this world with the hope that we have while we walk this road. There will be some more tears, some more death, some more pain, some more brokenness.
Yet God gives some more with intentionality. I love how Paul explains God using some more for our benefit in Romans 5:3-5. Paul tells us that we can find reason to rejoice even in our sufferings, because in our suffering well, we enjoy God producing an endurance that will produce greater character within us, greater appreciation of our hope, and less reason to be shamed. Why? Because the vital nature of our communion with God is often best appreciated when we are hungry for it.
Let me illustrate. I love a good meal. My midsection makes that clear. I can’t readily hide this truth. The comfort of food is often an idol of mine. However, you know when I love a good meal even more? After I have been fasting for a period of time. Our God uses the lean times in our lives, to fill up our emptiness with a greater appreciation for His love. Our Lord has invited us to feast on Him, and sometimes it takes famine to drive us to the place where we can be fed.
So again, there is some more, before there is no more. Even the event of Christmas itself, testifies of some more. Yes, God’s Son was found in a manger as a babe. But there was so much more for this baby. Who He was, was not apparent to this world roughly 2000 years ago. The some more of Jesus’ incarnation, and it being both infinitely valuable for those who He came to save, but at the same time utterly marginalized was just beginning with the first Christmas.
While angels sung at His arrival, the leading elders of his day ignored the prophetic signs. While pagan Wisemen sought Him out, Jewish rulers sought His death. While He lived a life free from sin, He was criticized and rejected at every turn. While He should have been crowned with a golden crown at the end of His ministry, He was crowned with thorns. While He should have been seated on a majestic throne, He was placed on a cross. While the resurrection happened, the Romans and Jews of His day worked to dismiss it. While His commission could have been over after He rose from the dead, He commissioned all those who believe in Him for some more work of proclaiming Him to the nations. Participating in the some more is a part of our union with the Spirit of Christ working in our world today.
Yet, there is a time to come of No more. What I’m referencing when I say no more, is Revelation 21. This chapter of scripture tells us that there is a day coming where there is no more separation from our God. That there will be no more death. That there will be no more crying. That there will be no more tears. No more mourning. No more pain. No more broken relationships. No more living in a place where it’s hard at times to see God in all of it. No more thirsting of any kind. The Glory of our Lord or Lords and King of Kings will no longer be veiled in this far too often broken landscape.
And so, take heart brothers and sisters. The trials and difficulties of our lives help serve to build our anticipation for the greater day to come. Each and every day of our lives is an opportunity to have a new and better day than just what Christmas provides, because we are one day closer to the everlasting day. A day with no more aches, no more pain, and no more tears. A place where we will be sons and daughters. A place where we will be gathered with our brothers and sisters. A place where there will be the greatest of all feasts and festival gatherings. As we travel through the some more of this life, never forget the no more ahead.