Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Once In Royal David's City"1 (Lyrics)
For over twenty years, I have delivered one of the two free community newspapers in our town. They were both originally published three times a week, but that has recently been cut to two editions, undoubtedly because of diminishing advertising revenue in print media generally. I have thought for some time that having two competing newspapers in our town was probably not economically viable. Well, last Tuesday, I discovered that back in October, the conglomerates that own our two newspapers negotiated a deal: four papers published by one company were swapped for six published by the other. The sale was to be completed last Saturday. The note that came with my stack of papers last Tuesday said that I would no longer be contracted "after the Tuesday, December 3rd edition delivery": today! The implication is that the newspaper is going to be shut down immediately.
As I was walking my route for my second-last delivery last Thursday, I thought about all the people who are going to be affected by this cutback: the newspaper employees, advertisers, printers, newsprint suppliers, and readers. The closing of the newspaper has not yet been publicly announced, and I was one of a select few who had advance warning that it was coming.
My thoughts turned to the word "coming", and specifically to the second coming of Christ, which Advent ("coming") looks forward to, as well as looking back to His first coming at Bethlehem. We don't know when Christ will return, any more than I knew when my newspaper would meet its demise. But we do know that He will return — He promised it! He gave us advance warning.
Matthew 24:42-44 – Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (NKJV)
I thought of all the unsuspecting newspaper readers who don't know that the end of the paper is coming, and then I thought of all the people who don't know that the end of the world is coming, or even if they do, they don't think that it is urgent to get right with God. I found myself sharing, with those who were mounting their Christmas lights, what I knew about the newspaper. Upon reflection, I began to realize that I need to have a lot more concern about sharing with those who would be adversely affected by the return of Christ. Who can we have an influence on at this Christmastime, to bring them into a relationship with Jesus?
Prayer: In many ways, Lord, the problems of this world are multiplying so rapidly that only Your imminent return will really solve them. But until that happens, may we work hard to solve many of those problems by spreading the good news of Your reconciling love and the real reason for Your coming: to bring us into a forgiven relationship with Yourself. Amen.