“For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”
This simple line from the well-known Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night” depicts the disruption of light, seen from a distance, yet breaking through darkness that first Christmas thousands of years ago.
As we come to our final week in Advent, we are reminded that the celebration of the promised Messiah is nearly here. Our daily routines are coming to an end as we work to create space in our calendars, our homes, our churches to celebrate the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, the Hope of the world, up until His arrival was quite simply a promise and a hope but not a fulfillment. On this side of the story, we can forget that the redemption He would bring was an idea in motion yet with evidence not yet seen. The ancients dreamed of the Messiah’s arrival. They talked about it, prophesied about it and then after 400 silent years after the prophets of the Old Testament had come to rest, the birth of Jesus reveals “the true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)
God’s most transformative, just solution to a broken world, after thousands of years of longing and patiently waiting, had been fulfilled.
“For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!” He arrived, their waiting was over. There was evidence given to their faith and the faith of those who waited in faithful obedience for thousands of years.
The longing, the hoping and waiting of the Advent season is not merely a reflection and celebration of what came to pass those thousands of years ago but sets a stage for us in our present time of waiting. We are waiting for Christ to once again break through the darkness with His Light. We are waiting for His return, and as we wait for it, we do it the same way those before us have done, obediently living by faith.
We see in Hebrews 11 countless examples of lives lived in obedience by faith. We learn in Hebrews 11:1-2 that faith “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…is what the ancients were commended for.” We also see in verse 6 that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” We are commended and rewarded for earnestly living in a way that does not necessarily show results.
While the call of a Christian is to live a life of faith, we live in a world where we often see what we hope for, so when we see alarming pain and stagnation in our communities and results are slow or not evident, we may be tempted to think we are on the wrong track and abandon our efforts. Yet, anticipation of what is to come, seen only from a distance is what it means to obediently live the faith-filled life of a Christian.
As Christians seeking to do justice, we need to be reminded to follow the examples of those before us, who lived their lives in faithful obedience to the promise, believing in something they could not see, remaining steadfast in the collective vision of what could be. God is still moving His kingdom forward regardless of what we can or cannot see. This is the heart of the Advent story.
“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps His word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times….so don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.
It won’t be long now, he’s on the way;
he’ll show up most any minute.
But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust;
if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy.
But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.” Hebrews 10:22-25 & 32-39 (The Message)
Let us remain faithful in our obedience to the work of Christ and His kingdom. Let us keep the faith and not quit, for just around the bend “breaks a new and glorious morn.”
Michelle Warren is the Advocacy & Strategic Engagement Director for CCDA