Come, Lord Jesus

“Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise. Every year we roll up all our needs and yearnings and faithful expectation into one word: ‘Come!’ And yet, what a strange prayer this is! After all, you have already come and pitched your tent among us. You have already shared our life with its little joys, its long days of tedious routine, its bitter end. Could we invite you to anything more than this with our “Come”? Could you approach any nearer to us than you did when you became the ‘Son of Man’? In spite of all this we still pray: ‘Come'” (Karl Rahner).

I’ve never thought about it before, but it is a bit odd that we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” to Immanuel, God already with us. Why are we praying for someone to come who has already arrived? How can anyone be closer who already lives in the hearts of all who have called on Him in faith?

Maybe it’s that we want to see Jesus manifested in the world like He is in our own lives. We want to see Him show up in a way where the leaders of the world sit up and take notice. We want Jesus to arrive as the Coming King to inaugurate His kingdom and to set every wrong to right and to wipe every tear from our eyes and to bring an end to evil, sin, and death.

Possibly it’s because we grow weary of the “now but not yet,” where we’re saved but still struggling with the old nature. We see glimpses of who we’re becoming by the transforming grace of God, but we also still see the sinner full of lust and selfishness and greed and all other sorts of toxic traits. We still do what we don’t want to do, and don’t do what we know is good for us and that we should do.

When Jesus truly comes back, we’ll see the original design restored and finally know what it means to be everlastingly alive. All those old hymns and Bible promises we’ve sung and longed for will be fulfilled. Best of all, we’ll all finally be home.

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