Advent is a reminder of allegiance. Only one kingdom matters. Other kingdoms, even the kingdom we like and think is pretty darn great, will fall.
Advent is the great reminder that when Christ came the first time everyone had their attention on Rome. How could they not? Rome occupied the Mediterranean world! You look up the headlines in the local newspapers and it’s “Rome is great!” and “Rome is STILL HERE!” and “Rome really rocks!”
Rome dominated the headlines and no one paid attention to a small event in Bethlehem.
In John’s day, Rome still dominated the headlines and the church was going through incredibly tough times. The visions of Revelation are a stark reminder that what goes on here is not always reflective of the ultimate reality of heaven.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. (Rev. 4:1-2)
One kingdom matters. And it isn’t the one making headlines today.
Russia and their hacking schemes, China and their bluster, North Korea and their crazy antics, or even the United States and its swagger will all fade into the annals of history.
One kingdom matters. It isn’t any of the ones making headlines today.
We can fight and scrap over budget deals and tax reform and abortion and other cultural wedge issues. There are important discussions to be taken up, but there needs to be perspective as well.
One kingdom matters and it isn’t the ones making headlines today.
Let our focus be on what is truly eternal and the One at the center who reigns now and forevermore. Advent calls us to reality.
Father, I get upset with the news around me. I get enraged at injustice. When I watch world leaders “thump their chests” like they have done something great, I shake my head. There is a part of me that really asks, “How long, O Lord?” Yet, Advent brings me back to the reality of your throne. Help me to worship. Help me to fix my gaze on the eternal. Let me fall on my face with the elders and simply cry, “HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!” Amen.