advent week 4 – a promise and a hope

Today we are looking at a passage from Revelation, chapter 21, verses 1-4. 

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

The Christmas season is marketed as a time of joy and excitement, happy families gathering together around beautiful fireplaces, and nostalgic bliss as we laugh about old memories while creating new ones. While those moments happen, the Christmas season brings about more complex feelings for many of us. Pain and sadness creep up on those missing family members who used to be a massive part of our Christmas experience. For some, Christmas is a time of isolation and loneliness. Most of us in the church world don’t get a chance to experience joy and excitement until Christmas Day because we have been so busy cultivating experiences for everyone else since Thanksgiving. 

That may seem like a bleak view of Christmas, but it’s a reality for countless people worldwide – especially those in ministry. So, how do we overcome such a dark season?

Revelation 21:1-4 brings us a promise of renewal and hope for restoration. In verse 5, the One sitting on the throne says, “Look, I am making everything new!” Everything. All new. We will have new bodies. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. We will have a new relationship with God. The pain, sorrow, and failure we often feel right now will be completely wiped away and never felt again! Ever. 

This new existence is something we have never known and cannot truly comprehend today. It is a restoration of God’s intention for humankind to walk with Him and flourish. Satan would love nothing more than for those of us who are saved to forget this promise and this hope. He would prefer that we stay stuck in the mire of our circumstances. He would want us to plod through the Christmas season, bearing the weight of our responsibilities and pain. But we must remember who we are in Christ.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” Colossians 3:1-4

Christmas is the ultimate time to remember the promise of renewal and restoration as we tell the world how Christ came to us as a human that first Christmas night in Bethlehem. We cannot adequately tell that story unless we believe that the result of His coming is our future and eternal dwelling with God in a wholly renewed world.

Need some community and prayer during this time? Reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, your family, your team, and your church this holiday season!

Bryan Bailey

Bryan Bailey

Bryan Bailey is the Director of Media at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. He joined the Prestonwood team in 2017 after previously serving at CrossChurch in NW Arkansas and at First Baptist Dallas. He has a strong background in music, as well as lighting design. Bryan’s passions are training volunteers to pursue excellence and pushing technology limits in worship (as well as fishing). Bryan lives in Frisco, TX with his wife, Jenni, son, Caden, two dogs, and a bunch of saltwater corals.

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MAY 7-8, 2024