Begin with the end in mind
Sunday will be the beginning of Advent, when we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus. First, of course, born in a manger in Bethlehem, but finally at the end of time. Steven Covey, and many other leadership gurus, will tell you to “begin with the end in mind” and the season of Advent does just that. Advent begins with the end so the lessons for Sunday focus on God’s promises of the Kingdom.
The Bible does not tell us a whole lot about heaven or the end of time. We just get an occasional glimpse, enough to let us know that heaven is not just sitting on clouds, plucking harps. Seriously, how boring would that be?
The lesson from Isaiah (click here to read it) reminds us that heaven is anything but static. In fact, we are promised that when we are on the mountain of the Lord, we will be learning His ways, and if we are to learn His ways, it certainly makes sense to conclude that we will be acting on that learning!
We don’t know what that’s going to look like, but as we look to Jesus’ coming, we can know that it does not simply mean the end of this life and activity, but it means a new life truly lived God’s way, and more than we could ever imagine.
My favorite, albeit fictional, description comes from the end of C. S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia.”
“‘The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.’
“And as He [Aslan – the Lion, the ‘Jesus” figure in the story] spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
So as we walk through Advent, and the rest of the year, we can know that our ultimate goal is not divine “retirement” but the real story only beginning — and that’s something to look forward to. And let’s get started now!
This column appeared in the December 1, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.