What I'm Thinking About This Christmas
Sunny with a high of...25 degrees Celsius.
That's the current weather here in Senegal as I finish editing this Christmas blog post.
And let me save you the math problem, that is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. AT CHRISTMAS.
My family and I have been living in Senegal for 3 weeks now and the temperature difference is one of the many changes that will take time getting adjusted to. That being said, I am definitely NOT missing suffocatingly-cold winds, scraping off cars, and slipping on black ice.
As we have been getting acclimated to our new home here in Senegal, there has been one thought that has been sticking out to me on a daily basis. More specifically, it's been one word on my mind.
There are a few different ways to translate this word of Aramaic origin. One of the most common being: "the Lord will come."
This Aramaic word is used only once in the Bible, and it is a phrase added on to the end of warning in 1 Corinthians 16:22.
Over time, it became a prayer within the Church: Maranatha - come, Lord!
A prayer and petition for our Lord to return soon.
It is a beautiful, short prayer that can be whispered or shouted in any life situation. In the pains and the victories. In the tears and the laughter. In the scars and in the healing.
When we find truth and beauty: come Lord, because we desire more of this!
When we find lies and destruction: come Lord, because we need an end to this!
It is both a promise and a hope for a future that is healed of all brokenness, free from all death, and full of all beauty.
And I am reminded of maranatha this Christmas because this prayer is only possible because of what we celebrate every December 25th.
We hope and pray for the future coming of our Lord, because He has already come. Without the accounts of His first bodily incarnation on Earth - how could we begin to picture or hope for a future arrival?
Our hope in the future is rooted in the actions of the past.
Our hope in our Lord of the future is rooted in the saving-work of that same Lord in the past and present.
In the best of these days, and in the worst of these days, our hope is in our coming Lord.
We know that what is is not what should be.
Our world is broken and scarred. But it is not beyond hope. The beauty, truth, and original status of all of Creation will be restored. Redemption is offered to each of us.
That is the hope of Christmas and that is the hope of our future.
In fact, the very end of the Bible concludes with a parallel Greek phrase in Revelation:
The hope of Christmas was in the coming of Jesus - and our hope for today (and 2018) is for the second coming of that same Jesus.
So, this Christmas, I am thinking about maranatha.
In my frustrations and celebrations, it is my prayer.
It is my hope.
Come, Lord Jesus.
(Also, one of my favorite songs right now is a Christmas song entitled (no surprise here) Maranatha. It's part of a beautiful and fun EP by one of the best teachers I have ever studied under. You can find check it out by clicking here.)