“I am in love with the green earth.”  Charles Lamb

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:1-5

Growing up in a dispensationalist church, we spoke often about the end times.  We spoke about wars, rumors of war, pestilence, and famine all as signs that Jesus was coming back soon.  While the Left Behind series might have been taken as a dramatization of these last days, I never fully grasped the hope of Revelation.

Since leaving that tradition and mindset, I have found myself gravitating to these final chapters of this book.  It became real for me when both of my grandparents were fading away on their deathbed.  I remember reading to them about the hope of the New Jerusalem and the River of Life.  After all, where else can we turn to when loved ones are so close to crossing the River Jordan?

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

In Christ, there is hope and there is a measure of peace in the face of loss.  The incarnation points us to this new reality, this hope that God not only made us but he also came for those who were lost.  He came not for those who believe they were never lost, instead he came for those who desperately needed to be found.

The weeks leading up to Christmas is not just about pondering his birth, or about finding a peaceful time of year.  As much as I appreciate the great Charles Dickens, it is not just about generosity and kindness toward our fellow men and women.  In Advent, we look to the promise penned by Isaac Watts that Jesus comes to spread blessing as far as the curse of sin is found.  He comes to bless and restore the broken things of this world.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

How do you see God righting the world through the return of Jesus?

Photo: Ian Sane via Compfight