In many homes this time of year you’ll find a paper chain made up of green and red slips of paper looped through each other and hanging near the Christmas tree. Children are eagerly counting down the days until Christmas. Every time they get to rip one of the paper links off of the chain they know that they’re another day closer to Christmas. The anticipation and excitement they feel is contagious, and parents and grandparents look forward to seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they open their presents.
Along with getting another day closer to Christmas you’re also getting another day closer to your salvation, you just don’t know how long that particular paper chain is. Paul wrote in Romans 13:11 “for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Every morning you wake up one day closer to being welcomed home by your heavenly Father. How exciting! You are closing in on the end of sorrow, pain, and grief and drawing close to eternal joy, peace, and gladness. But Judgment Day is not here yet and neither is Christmas.
Assuredly grandparents, parents, and children are buying presents, wrapping gifts, and preparing for Christmas in many other ways as well. The Christmas season is a busy time of year! There is so much to do. As you draw closer to the Last Day there is much to do as well. There aren’t presents to wrap as God the Father has already revealed the great gift and inheritance He will give His children. By the perfect life and atoning sacrifice of Christ, He has removed your guilt forever. As Jesus drew closer to the cross day after day, He looked past the pain at the joy of saving your life. You are the reason He had to go to the cross, but His love for you is also the reason He was willing to go to the cross.
So if heaven is already prepared for you, what are you to be busy with until then? Paul speaks of a believer’s responsibility a few verses earlier in chapter 13. “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ … And do this, knowing the time,” Loving your neighbor means caring for them here on this earth and inviting them to the banquet feast of the Lamb in heaven. Loving your neighbor means taking these actions now because you never know when there won’t be another day before the Last Day.