He came; He comes; He’s coming!


Merry Christmas!

One quick thought, and then you can get back to your Christmas focus. I want to remind you of an important grammatical encounter that is most important against the backdrop of this holiday.

It’s on a bunch of the Christmas cards you’ve received; it’s a major character in the whole Christmas story, though it exists as a concept rather than as a lead in the dramatic scenes. What is it?

It’s Hope: and it’s essential, for life. With it, you can succeed against all opposition. Without it, you cannot continue another day. What oxygen is to the body, hope is to the soul. Hope is one of the foundation stones of the Christian worldview; it is a starring concept in the Christmas story.

Here is the Christmas conjugation of the verb to hope. There’s a message in the timeline!

Past tense: He came. God’s promise of a Messiah was first declared in the Garden of Eden; His solution for sin would be the One who would someday come to destroy Satan and restore the intimate connection that was severed by Adam and Eve’s willful violation. Thousands of years passed… but God had not forgotten. The promised Messiah was born in Bethlehem; the details surrounding the epic event have been revisited in your hearing for days now, leading up to this moment. It’s history: He came.

Present tense: He comes. Across the Muslim Mideast, there is a recurring miracle that mirrors the angels with the shepherds, or the Magi with the star. Today, thousands of men and women raised and held captive by Islam have become followers of Jesus with an incredible common testimony: Jesus appeared to them in their dreams, pointing them toward a place or a person who would give them the truth about Him. My friend Tom Doyle – who, with his wife, JoAnn leads a great ministry called Uncharted – has captured vignettes of these people’s accounts in his book, Dreams and Visions. For thousands of former Muslims, Jesus is more compelling than the unceasing call to prayer coming from their local mosque minaret. When Jesus appears, He calls them to Himself. He’s current: He comes, still.

Future tense: He’s coming. The First Coming was promised throughout the Old Testament. The Second Coming is promised across the New Testament. For Christians, Christmas is the First Advent; His return is the Second Advent. Another great term for that event: The Blessed Hope. It’s God’s way of punctuating history; it will be the Game-changer of game-changers. When He came (past tense), it was an arrival missed by everyone except the few in and around Bethlehem; when He Comes (future tense), every person on the planet will be aware of the awesome reality that will affect them – and, everyone – in an eternally significant way. He’s the Future: He’s coming.

Just between us, there’s your grammar lesson for Christmas. Be the tutor for the folks around your table as you prepare to enjoy the festive meal and conversation. Help your family to be uber-informed: Christmas is one installment of a continuing drama with past, present and future dimensions. We’re in the cast, along with the shepherds and Wise Men: don’t lose track of the next act!

He’s coming back!


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1 thought on “He came; He comes; He’s coming!”

  1. You continue to inform, inspire, and challenge me. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for you, your Ministry, and the hope you continue to convey through your messages. Please know I am praying for your health, your family, and your Ministry. While I was able to make a donation this year, I always pray that I can and will do more. Right now I am full-heart, full-brain, and full-time traipsing around the world serving the Persecuted Church (various Ministries) through programs, IT systems, funding, and technologies to protect their privacy. You taught me not to leave undone that which only I could do. While I believe others could do this work, and feel totally called to do it myself.

    Please know that your message goes with me every. single. place. Your messages transcend space and time. I remain your faithful, selfish, fallen, and yet hopeful servant. Praying we meet at a coffee shop again soon 🙂


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