Author - Herb Clayton
When I read today's reading in light of the Christmas season, there were a few characteristics of God that seem to link together: patience, love, and power.
First, when I read 2 Chronicles 30:9 "...for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, 'if you return to him," it highlight's the patience that the Father has with us. Although in this case, He was speaking to the Jews, Peter reminds us of the patience that God has for us when he says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9).
This is a mind-blowing thing if you ever spend the time to really think about it. Imagine, the Creator of the universe taking the time to give all of us a chance to respond to the Good News. But here's what's even better, you don't have to imagine...because it's true. He has, and continues to show His patience...just think of the breath you just took...it was a gift, and proof of his patience towards us.
Also, on a side note, I find it very interesting that the first descriptive word in the 1 Cor 13:4-8 classic definition of love is: "Love is patient...." This love and patience were so great that our Father sent His Son to us over two thousand years ago so "that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
John tells us in John 1 that "the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." If you didn't know it, this is what happened on the first Christmas day; the Word showed up to "dwell among us." What a gift! Not only does the Father have patience, but He loves enough to dwell with us in our circumstances and provides salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ!
Last, the passages from Revelation 16, the seven bowls of God's wrath, remind me of the power of our God and what will happen when His patience has run its course. I mentioned earlier that He is the Creator of the universe, but sometimes I think we forget. Again, John reminds us of the reason we have the book of Revelation, "to show to his servants the things that must soon take place" (Rev 1:1)
One day our Lord will "come with the clouds, and every eye will see him" (Rev 1:7). On that day, for those of us who have confessed with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead (Rom 10:9), there will be a celebration like Christmas...but much, much, better!