By Matt Capps
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ during this Advent season, we are reminded of why He came. Christ is the embodiment of God’s promises for redemption, the hope of restoration. And both redemption and restoration are a gift of God’s grace. In one sense, this is why we give gifts to one another during the Christmas season. Some trace the practice back to the wise men as the first gift-givers. But ultimately, the greatest gift was Christ Himself who was given to the whole world by God the Father.
There is such excitement when children tear open gifts on Christmas morning. With each tear of wrapping paper, their hopes and desires seem to come true. However, the excitement often dies down after a few hours or days. The newness of the gifts wears off. What was once new, quickly becomes as common as the hundred other toys that fill their rooms. Over time, those toys scratch, break, and stop working. And thus, their excitement dies down and is reborn as the year builds toward the next Christmas season.
This points to a longing that we all have deep in our hearts. There seems to be a never-ending cycle to our hopes and dreams that never find their fulfillment in this life. We live in a broken world where things don’t work the way they should. It’s a cycle where hopes and desires are born and die until something new comes along promising fulfillment.
New careers that once held out so much promise lose their luster. New relationships that were once harmonious become riddled with difficulty. New experiences become less satisfying. It all leaves us to wonder, Will we ever experience a newness that never fades? Will the broken world we live in ever be as it should be? Sometimes, we identify with Mr. Tumnus in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when he remarked that in Narnia, it was “always winter, but never Christmas.”
Thanks be to God that our experiences do not have the last word—only God does. In the book of Revelation, Jesus holds out the promised hope of redemption and restoration that fulfills our deepest desires. His promise to make “everything new” (Revelation 21:5), breaks through our hearts like a light in the darkness.
As we reflect on the promise of Christ, we come to see that our ultimate hopes are not found in a gift wrapped under a tree, in a new career, relationship, or even experience. This promise is first found in a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. For this reason, Advent is a season of hope, a reminder of promises made and promises kept by the greatest gift-giver of all, God Himself. And the good news is that the gift of Christ never loses its luster. From the cradle to the cross to the crown, our excitement and fulfillment will grow as wide as eternity stretches.
Written by Matt Capps