Advent/Christmas reminds us of the Christ child who came into our world some 2000 years ago. Advent/Christmas also reminds of the coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time-coming, as our scripture today says, "....on clouds of glory."
That's a mysterious term, "Coming on clouds of glory." It is intended to be. Clouds are the biblical symbol of mystery and of the presence of God. "He is coming with the clouds," says Revelation 1:7. "Lo, I am coming to you in a thick cloud," said God to Moses at Mount Sinai. A cloud symbolizing the divine presence covered the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 40: 34-36). When the New Testament says that Jesus is coming with the clouds it is a powerful symbol of mystery and divinity. It reminds us that God is with us. We are not alone!
I remember reading about a teller at the drive-in window of a bank who was having difficulty with the glaring sun. He lowered the shade. Behind the shade he could see customers as they drove up, but they couldn't see him. As one woman drove in, the teller punched the button. The money drawer opened just as the woman came to a stop. She put her check in the drawer and the draw withdrew. Seconds later the drawer rolled out again with her money in it. She took the money and stared at the window. She couldn't see anybody. Then she said, "I know you are completely automated, but I want to thank you anyway."
It is really nice in our automated world to have someone we can thank, especially during this season of Advent and Christmas. I think it is sad that many people have a feeling of gratitude, but they have no one to thank. We do have someone to thank. So, let's share the joy of the coming of a savior, Jesus Christ, with others.
I remember reading about a man in New England in 1938 who went into a store and bought a new barometer, which he took home and proudly placed in his study window. When it was hung he consulted it anxiously to see what the weather would be like that day. Lo and behold the barometer said "hurricane." Here he was in New England and the idea of a hurricane seemed absurd to him. So he grabbed that barometer in a huff and rushed back down to the store to return it. The store clerk asked, "What's the matter?" He said, "Here I've traveled all this way to this store to buy this barometer and it's reading hurricane."
The store owner said, "Oh, I'll happily refund your money."
He got his money back and started the long journey home. By the time he got home, his house had blown away because of the hurricane that hit New England in 1938.
Just like this man who was looking for a sign, people are always looking for signs concerning Christ's return. We do not know when our time will come, but we do live in anticipation that God will fulfill God's promises of giving us eternal salvation.