Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
I do internal happy dances when God drops a rhema into my head, the way I drop doggy treats into my English Bull’s joyful mouth.
The Logos – God’s written Word, the Bible – seems more magnificent and relevant to me every year. It’s to be studied regularly and held as the highest authority for guidance and standard.
But the Rhema – God’s personal communication to you – is precious and startling when He opens your eyes to something new in the Word, or expands your understanding of something you thought you already knew.
Love those rhema moments! And I had one Sunday while we were singing O Come All Ye Faithful during worship.
“Sing all ye citizens of heaven above.” Not “in” heaven above, as I’ve wrongly framed it most of my life. This carol doesn’t ask the saints positioned in heaven to join us, though they’re welcome to. Rather, it invites us, citizens of heaven above who journey through earth as pilgrims and ambassadors, to praise the newborn King.
In doing so, we join Him in status. The infant Lord is here on a Visa, royalty arriving in squalor, just visiting. He’ll grow up to love the people of this planet, and even love much about the planet itself, but it’s not where He belongs. Having finished His Father’s business He’ll go home, returning only when it’s right to make things right once and for all.
Christmas is an exaggeration of the stress we feel year-round. January through November we scramble just trying to get it all done, much less get it done right. But December is January through November on steroids, with work, family, money, and events clashing and clamoring for our immediate attention. I’m a sucker for all of it, but who can deny it sucks the life out of you in the process?
That’s why the tears came Sunday morning while we sang. It hit me, hard and wonderfully, that although I have responsibilities here, I don’t belong here. I’m the citizen of a Kingdom without end and (praise God!) a Kingdom without stress.
There’s so much about this journey that I cherish, for sure: a family I treasure, work I’m passionate about, a church full of people I’m honored to even know, much less be with. But the misery of a sin nature which birthed in the garden and stinks up everything here is a reminder that we don’t belong here.
Or, as Paul said so well, “Our citizenship is in heaven and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 3:20)
What’s good about this life will remain; what’s awful will be purged out once and for all. Meanwhile, we’re singing citizens buoyed with an expectation of life as we’ve never known it but, by the witness of the Spirit, have a foretaste of. We sing this month of His coming, of our acceptance in Him, and of our ultimate joining with Him when we see face to face what we’ve been yearning for.
As my furry buddy’s face seems to say when I drop him a treat, so say
Let’s love this crazy season and relish the truth which birthed it. It’s a time to verbalize our joy in Him, so to the salespeople I deal with, I’ll say “Merry Christmas.” To the Christ of Christmas, I’ll repeat what the salespeople always say to me: Come Again Soon.