__________ Returns
By Anthony Casperson

The streets are filled with crowds going about their daily lives. Everything seems normal. It’s just a regular day. Screaming past the crowd, a strangely dressed villain hits part of a nearby building. A huge chunk plummets toward the people in the streets.

But then, a hero arrives. Just in time, the hero saves the people in the crowd. One person in particular had been closest to death. The hero was so close. But after saving the people, the hero must go to defeat the villain.

That one person, though, finds themself in a place where they are overjoyed to be alive, to have been saved, but they want to see the hero once again. They attempt to reach out to their savior. They want to have the hero return to them so that they can thank the hero. They want to share their joy in being saved.

The chance comes. Saved and savior come face to face. Joy overwhelms the person because their hero, their savior, stands before them. The person thanks their hero and they are forever changed.

If you’ve been following along with our time celebrating Advent, you probably can see where I’m going with this one. As we come to celebrate the first coming of our Savior, I want to remind us of his return.

While in Jesus’ first coming he paid the price for our sins on the cross, he left with words of returning. Though the price was fully paid, the full ramifications of that salvation have not yet come to be. That will come at the time of his return, when he utterly removes sin from the world.

The first coming of Jesus as a baby in a manger made the way for the second coming of Jesus as King of everything in his full power. As Jesus returns, we who are his followers will become as he is, sinless, holy, pure.

And that is reason to have joy.

As the sermon series I’ve been going through on this website has been saying, joy is not just happiness, but finding God’s work in our circumstances. Ultimately, the work of God since the time of the fall of humanity has been to save as many as possible from the doom of hell.

At the time of Jesus’ return, the completion of that work of God will come to an end. The joy that we have been reaching for, and some have found, will come to ultimate fulfillment. And we can rejoice in the work God sets himself to after that.

The color associated with the joy of Jesus’ return is purple. Combining the blue of the hope of the coming King, the red of the love of the Savior, and the white of the peace of the greatest Sacrifice, we come to the purple of the joy of the Returned.

As we all celebrate the birth of our Savior, let’s not forget the reason for his coming. His mission was to bring us into relationship with him.

May the coming of Christ make you mighty in hope, love, peace, and joy.