“To be a Christian is to live every day of our lives in solidarity with those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death, but to live in the unshakable hope of those who expect the dawn.” These words, from Fleming Rutledge in her book Advent, seem especially poignant now.
The Christmas season is unquestionably a time of joy. We celebrate the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Son of God—an inbreaking of heaven into earth that redeems us and commences the process of making all things new. In celebration of that generous gift of God, we give gifts to one another. We gather, we reconcile, we give to those in need, we sing for our Savior, and we sing for one another. It is a glimpse of the kingdom of God.
But Advent and Christmas are also a time of painful yearning. They are, after all, only glimpses of the kingdom of God that we see here on earth. We see much more of the kingdoms of men. We see terror and destruction in the Holy Land. War and oppression in Ukraine and Myanmar. The persecution of Christians around the globe. Suicide rates resuming a decades-long climb. A culture that seems increasingly lost in chaos and confusion, aimlessness and animosity.
Even on a smaller scale, the holiday can be conflicted. We celebrate a baby’s first Christmas but mourn a parent who is gone. We praise God for the child who found her way and pray for the one who has lost it. We suffer one broken relationship and enjoy another that’s renewed.
This is the world we inhabit between the First Coming and the Second. The beauty of the kingdom of God summons us and fills us with hope but also with mourning for the world of justice, peace, and fellowship with God that has not yet fully come to be.
Christianity Today is a community for those who long for God’s kingdom. We tell stories of sin and suffering—but also of good that overcomes evil. We carry testimonies of persecution and pain—but also of flourishing and joy. We need your help to do this. As the year ends, please consider supporting our mission. Help us reach new audiences all around the world with a compelling vision of the kingdom of God.
The light dawned two thousand years ago. We still look with tears of joy on that long-awaited dawn. But the light is still growing, and we shed tears of sorrow that it’s not yet fully chased away the dark. We live in hard-won hope and in firm commitment to do our small part to advance the kingdom.
Timothy Dalrymple is CT’s president and CEO.
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