Editor's note: "A pandemic advent: the arrival of a Savior for all" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Ann Arbor community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
December 19 – We are all winners in God’s eyes
Isaiah 40:1–17, Revelation 7:1–17
Contests are fun. Motivation to give it our best is fueled by the anticipation of being chosen for the prize. The joyful anticipation of winning is a fun part of the process! As a little girl in grade school, my favorite was the coloring contest. I dreamed of my picture being chosen by the teacher. Truth be told, the classroom teacher was probably buying some valuable lesson preparation time. Yet, as a first grader, I kept my eye on the prize as I worked to color within the lines and scribbled away with my crayons.
In today’s Scripture reading, the book of Revelation describes two visions that are profoundly complementary. While Old Testament reveals a chosen number of those who were sealed, it perhaps foreshadows the New Testament’s message for all included in Christ. Revelation 7:4 reads, “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.” This describes, in Old Testament terms and census, a remnant of believers from the chosen nation of Israel. Directly after, Revelation 7:9, reads, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” The great (innumerable) multitude describes a gloriously inclusive gathering of all believers in Christ at the end of history.
The Advent season is a time of joyful anticipation, a time for believers to reflect on the past as well as what is to come! We celebrate Christ’s coming to earth as a baby. He grew and walked among us: to rescue, redeem and restore us and bring us to our ultimate, final joy. Our final joy is described in Revelation 7:15-17, They are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence…For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water. ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
A marvelous display of children’s art was the ultimate result of my childhood classroom coloring contests. So, in the end, all together, every participant won.
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