I know the posts about waiting don’t usually start until advent but it seems somewhat appropriate to begin now. My excellent brother described engagement to me as being an image of the Christian life, living in the now, waiting for the not yet. Living in preparation for the day and life that is to come. The problem is, I’m not that great at waiting. Or living well now whilst the future comes steadily closer. Thankfully mine and Kevin’s engagement only lasts 4 months, two of which have passed already. The 19th December still seems far in the future though, and I’m in danger of wishing away my favourite time of year by just thinking about that future all the time.
The thing is: I love autumn, I love leaves that look like this:
I love the night when the clocks go back, I love crisp autumn days, I love the smell of woodsmoke in the air on bonfire day, I love curling up on the sofa with a book and a cup of tea, I love November fog, I love getting home from work in the dark and putting pretty lights on, I love fairy lights, the build up to Christmas and the joy of advent reminding me of the reality that our God stepped into the world to be our Immanuel. I don’t want to wish all that away whilst waiting for the best day of the year. I ache for that day in a deep way and we are preparing for it, practically and mentally and in everyother possible way. It is shaping our lives here. But as it does so, as it shapes how we spend our days there is deep tension as we struggle to live in the present. We still have to go to work, we have to love each other and the people around us, we have to pay attention to the today in front of us.
Tension is the best word I can think of to describe that way of living, tension between all that Today has and the Tomorrow that is to come. Life is shaped and informed by what is to come, and yet what is to come doeesn’t take us out of Today. It should help us live Today well. Which I think is where the analogy ends and points to the reality of what we’re talking about. The hope of new creation enables us to care for each other now, enables us to have perspective on our days, weeks and months, it helps us live deeply well Today. The hope of our wedding is a different kind of hope, the preparations will soon be over, we will soon be married and as we do that we will still be living lives that are informed by our next wedding. We’ll experience changes in our life that will be brilliant, weird, odd, strange, genius, exciting and more but we will have not arrived. There is a home to be journeyed to still. We will journey in a different way to before, but our hope is still in something else, something other than our marriage, someone outside ourselves.
The Final Wedding day is the day that we long for, the day when our Maker reforms and remoulds his world. When Jesus comes back to judge, when we get to finally be in a world with no pain, hurt, crying or distress. When we will be with our God in perfect relationship, knowing our Saviour and being known. We will be his people and he will be our God. Whilst gazing on that Hope our days shift and change. We still appreciate the Now, in the Now we are called to live deep lives of joy and contentment, but we live knowing we have a better city to come. We are at ease with being strangers and aliens here because we know our home is somewhere else. We enjoy the wonders of this world knowing they are mere shadows and we can hold loosely to them because our ultimate satisfaction is in being known by and knowing our Maker. That is our ultimate hope. That is the big fat truth that I long to transform my Today.