Jesus said, “Surely, I am coming soon!”

And the Church responds, “Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

These words, found in the closing verses of the Book of Revelation, and echoed even in our “common table prayer,” form the believer’s response to the message of Advent.

Our Lord Christ has come.  “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).  In this blessed, holy season of Advent we prepare for the celebration at Christmas of our Lord’s incarnation, His coming into our flesh.

In this the Son of God has placed on each of us infinite value, showing how God Himself gives us our worth, for God Himself becomes one of us to give Himself on the cross for us.  “You were bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  “It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”  (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Jesus’ coming in the flesh is the heart of our proclamation and the central fact that gives our lives meaning and purpose.  In Him is life.  Without Him there is no life, no reason even to be.

Therefore, we rehearse the promises:  “A virgin shall conceive and shall bear a son, and they will call his name ‘Immanuel’” (Isaiah 7:14).  We pause in wonder:  “Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  On His day we sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).

Yet even in our singing the Advent hymns and Christmas carols, we look beyond this tired and fallen world to the time when we join the multitude of heaven and sing:  “Hallelujah!  Salvation and glory and power belong to our God…  Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns…”  (Revelation 19:1b, 6b).  For the Christ who has come is coming again – visibly, in glory, to take us home.

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’  Who ever is thirsty, let him come; and who ever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).  Therefore “Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!” is our prayer, as we sing: “The King shall come when morning dawns, And light and beauty brings. Hail! Christ the Lord, your people pray: Come quickly, King of Kings!”  (LSB 348, st. 5).

But oh, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, you know there is even more.  For in the midst of all the busyness of this season, Christ comes to us right now, full of grace and truth!

Yes, here He is, in the down to earth, mundane, but clear Word of God (wasn’t His first coming in swaddling clothes?).  You don’t have to climb a high mountain, or plumb the depths of the ocean to find Him.  You don’t have to make pilgrimage to exotic places.  He is here, here in the Word of Scripture.

He reveals Himself in the words we preach and teach from His Word.  He shows Himself under the splash of water and Word in Holy Baptism.  In and with the forms of bread and wine, by His Word of promise, He gives His body and blood.

For that reason we take heart, my friends, and know that in the Lord our labor is never in vain.  For He comes.  And so we also pray, “Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!”

 

+ Herbert Mueller
First Vice President