In one famous Peanuts comic by Charles Schultz, Charlie Brown enters a footrace at the local track. In the four-lap race, he takes the lead at the end of the second lap and continues to be the leader throughout the third. Charlie Brown, the consummate hard-luck guy, begins to feel the excitement. He tells himself that this is finally the time that he will come out on top! For the first time, Charlie Brown, who never wins anything, is going to win the race!
In the final scene, we see Charlie Brown, still grinning, failing to take the final turn of the race and running out the stadium completely and being disqualified.
This is typical for the hard-luck Charlie Brown, but it does not have to be the experience of those who follow Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to “. . . run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
As we approach the Christmas Season, which for most of us culminates on December 25th (though there are 12 days of Christmas on the historic Christian calendar), Advent has reminded us that we are on a journey toward the coming of Christ. In fact, we are always on a journey toward the coming of Christ!
As we move forward on this journey, like Charlie Brown, we can become easily distracted. However, God is always near. He is full of grace and mercy, and His Spirit is our steady and ever-present guide.
Because of this, even at the end of our lives, we can echo the Apostle Paul’s words that he wrote before his execution: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
God’s faithfulness fulfills our Advent longings with the presence of Christ!
Prayer for the Week:
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a
mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen. (from The Book of Common Prayer)
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Please note: This article was originally published in 2017. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.