Promised New Heaven

Don’t you just hate interruptions? They slow down your progress, derail your train of thought, and often feel just rude. I used to get aggravated when I was interrupted at work until I finally realized that interruptions ARE the job. Every time someone pokes their head in the doorway and says, “Can I bother you for a second?” it is a call to ministry. I have even learned that when the sound of a siren interrupts worship, that is a time to stop everything and pray. Something more important is happening…God is redirecting our attention to what he wants us to focus on.

The interruption of 2 Peter into our mellow Christmas preparations is a little startling today. We are so ready to hear about angels, shepherds, mooing cows, the baby who sleeps through the night on a pile of hay without crying….bring it on!

But this lectionary passage looks well past the manger and reinforces the reason that the Holy Child came at all. What exactly was the point of the incarnation? To prove God’s power through a miraculous conception? To deliver God-Made-Flesh as an infant for us to worship and adore? To give the Three Kings somewhere to go?

Jesus came for one reason: to save humanity. All the lullaby songs, all the gentle sheep, all the startled shepherds standing under the epiphany star were just the beginning. Jesus came to herald in the Day of God.

2 Peter 3 (The Message)

11-13 Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.

Where are you looking this Advent season? Are you so focused on the life-giving birth that you have forgotten the life-saving death? Remind me, why are we doing this again?

We do it again to be ready for the real ending. The ending that Christ began in the manger. The ending he delivered on the cross. The ending that he guaranteed three days later at his resurrection.

So for today, live your life for the ending. Live at your best. Live in purity and peace. Live as one who is looking the other way, toward the promised new heaven and the promised new earth.

Live a holy life.

14-16 So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. Interpret our Master’s patient restraint for what it is: salvation.

This is what you have to look forward to! And it promises to be the best Christmas present you’ll receive…so don’t miss it.

Look Toward the New Heaven by Peggy Bryson

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