CHRIST HAS COME. Christ is here, and Christ will come again. Past, present, future. On a night we now take for granted, the whole of history was turned upside down. A unique person entered our world. Not an angel. Not another prophet, but God's own son. Not as we would have written the scenario - in the capital of the Roman Empire with all the majesty of a king surrounded by an army and adored by millions.

Christ entered our world as we enter it - out of a young woman's body. He entered our world with our human makeup, with a human mind and human marrow, human genes and human glands. He entered our world in a forgotten corner of the earth, in a feeding trough for animals, with only one man and one woman to see. He entered our world as powerless as we were, and he cried, and felt cold until Mary gathered him in her arms.

Since that night the earth has not been the same. On the surface much seems the same. Hate still hounds us and war still wounds us. Children still starve and the elderly are often forgotten. Cancers riddle our flesh and death never takes a holiday. However, the good news is that men and women need no longer be slaves to sin and Satan, each of us can be one with God and one another now and forever. As early church writers declared, "God became human to make us divine, to give us a share in God's own life."

The other event we consider during advent is the Second Coming of Jesus. Just as He came the first time, He is going to come the second time. . . . We know neither the day nor the hour, but we know it is yet to come for us.

At a moment when the human race least expect it, the heavens will be rent asunder and the Son of man will appear like a lightning flash. All opposition will be destroyed, and He will reign over this planet. Every knee will bow to him, and every tongue will confess him as Lord..

The Scriptures indicate that now we are living in man's day. But there is coming a day that will be called the Day of the Lord. In the midst of hopelessness, at this Christmastime, there is hope, hope that is centered in the God-Man, the one who was born as a babe in a manger.

Now the will of man runs riot in the earth. Then the will of the Lord alone shall be done. The prophet Isaiah said, "The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."

Until that time we are under orders from the king of kings to proclaim his message. We must go and proclaim. In doing so, we are hastening the day of his return.

God never employs force to achieve his ends. He does not operate on the principle of coercion. From the beginning of history even until now, God has lovingly marked the true way and he has carefully outlined the alternatives for error, but he has left the ultimate choice to each of us.

Jesus, in his final appeal to the human race in the book of Revelation, said, "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

Today a river of life flows through the world, a world that is cynical and disillusioned. Jesus bids us to come to this stream and "take the water of life freely."

My prayer today is that the message of Advent will be a personal message to you that Jesus will be the prince of peace to you personally and that you are living in the sure and certain hope that he is going to come. That is a promise that will not be broken.

Are you ready for his second Advent? In the midst of all the tinsel, the sparkle, the giving and exchanging of gifts, let's make this Advent season one in which we wait confidently, assuredly, expecteding at any moment that the king of kings will appear and we can join with the angels, saints, elders, and loudly proclaim. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain . . ." Blessing, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen and amen. *