This month, I discovered I haven’t been associating Christmas first with biblical images such as Nativity scenes, shepherds, and stars.
Much of the time, the holiday makes me imagine the time after Jesus returns.
I found myself daydreaming about the eternal era after Jesus has brought Heaven to New Earth. (I believe New Earth will be this selfsame, physical planet, which is judged by fire, then lasts forever under King Jesus. See Revelation 21: 1–5, Isaiah 65: 17–25; Romans 8.)
From many of the creatives at Speculative Faith, Lorehaven serves Christian fans by finding biblical truth in fantastic stories.
To be sure, imagination of Jesus’s past or future arrivals must be based on biblical truth. Put that right, and the best fantastical images and emotions will follow.
Most of my imaginings aren’t based on specific texts, but biblical speculation.
I think of warm, divinely built mansions snuggled among cold snows.
I imagine family from across generations reunited to celebrate that ancient Advent.
I dream of all the best parts of Christmas—the joy, wonder, and pure anticipation—all redeemed for eternity. And in this dream, there’s no room for any idolatrous abuses of Christmas gifts. No more greed, materialism, covetousness, or stress.
Instead this sinless earth is filled with our Lord’s knowledge as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). Or as the third verse of my favorite carol “Joy to the World” says:
“No more let sins and sorrows grow / Nor thorns infest the ground / He comes to make his blessings flow / Far as the curse is found …”
Isaac Watts’s song isn’t actually about Jesus’s birth, but his second coming to our (literal) Earth. Scriptural prophecies often similarly conflate the Messiah’s first and second arrivals. So does the original New Testament phrase “Maranatha.”
Of course, for many of us, the Christmas season isn’t only about joy and wonder. This time can also carry memories of suffering, separation, and death. All the cold darkness that bleak midwinter represents. The winter Jesus came to end forever.
In this era between his arrivals, we can grieve and celebrate. We rejoice in his first coming, and groan as we await his second coming and the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23).
Merry Christmas—and maranatha!