What If the Church Had a “Looking Forward Day”?

We received this thought-provoking letter from a reader named Richard Higby. As you read, consider what it might look like for your family and church to implement his idea of a day celebrating and looking forward to Christ's return and the coming New Earth.

In my book Happiness, I write about how the observances of Christ’s birth and resurrection have been commandeered by our culture and distanced from their true biblical and historical meanings. Rather than abandon these holidays, we can infuse them with their biblical significance. We can also celebrate other “holy and happy days” that our culture doesn’t recognize and therefore won’t distort.

Wouldn’t it be great if children growing up in Christian homes looked forward to additional God-centered holidays—ones they could invite their unbelieving friends to join? Wouldn’t it be fitting if church was known as the place that celebrates more than the world, rather than less? Worship, camaraderie, and unity would be hallmarks of such events. But one of the greatest payoffs would be reestablishing followers of Jesus as people of profound happiness who are quick to celebrate the greatness, goodness, love, grace, and happiness of our God.

I like Richard’s idea of a “Looking Forward Day,” as in “looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home” (2 Peter 3:13). Or maybe just “New Earth Day” where we look forward, but also remember Eden, where God looked at all He had made and said “it is very good“ (Genesis 1:31). And above all, we can celebrate Christ’s blood–bought promise, the promise God made to the human race, that there is something far, far better He intends for us and the earth—and nothing will stop it from one day coming at last!

Dear Mr. Randy Alcorn,

This letter has long been in my heart and mind as my wife and I have been deeply touched by your books and teachings regarding the events surrounding the second coming of Christ, Revelation, and Heaven. We have read most of your books and watched many of your teachings/sermons on YouTube. Your thoughts, words, and passion to share the powerful, life-changing truths of God's Word and Kingdom with God's people has greatly encouraged us, as I'm sure is true of countless others.

My wife and I were raised in Christian homes, Christian churches, and schools. We’re now 76, empty nesters with my precious wife of almost 56 years.

My career began in the engineering field, and in 2000 I became a Care Pastor in a local church. For the past 23 years I've been doing that—and loving it! Making a difference is what I live for. I have been privileged to teach many times on the very things I have heard you teach and write about.

The reason I'm writing is to share the burden I have for instilling a greater eternal perspective within the Body of Christ, which you mention regularly.

In your book We Shall See God, based on Charles Spurgeon's devotional thoughts on Heaven, you write:

Every taste of joy is but a foretaste of a greater and more vibrant joy than can be found on Earth now. That's why we need to spend our lives cultivating our love for Heaven. That's why we need to meditate on what Scripture says about Heaven and to read books, have Bible studies, teach classes and preach sermons on it. We need to talk to our children about Heaven. When we're camping, hiking, or driving or when we're at a museum, a sporting event, or a theme park, we need to talk about whatever we see around us as signposts of the New Earth.

As you so well state, having an eternal perspective changes everything! So here are my thoughts:

Every year the Christian church spends the month of December to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ—Advent...and we should do this.

Every year the Christian church spends 40 days or so to remember and celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Day...and we should do this.

Many Christian churches remember and celebrate Ascension Day; we should do this.

As far as I can see—and I believe you would agree—the only event yet to come in this “church age” is the second coming of Christ.

My heart for raising eternal perspective awareness within the Christian church is to create an annual "Looking Forward Sunday" (Or any other name that fits well) into the Christian calendar whereby we take seriously Peter's words:

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:11-14)

Mr. Alcorn, is the Church looking forward to Christ’s return as Peter encourages us? The Church might have been looking forward to it back then, but is this happening today?

Having an eternal perspective wipes away most of the stuff we find ourselves drawn to and on which we fix our eyes...this is our "blessed hope"!

I am not a man who is “so heavenly minded that I'm no earthly good”; nor am I a man who is “so earthly minded that I'm no heavenly good,” but I DO look forward to Christ's return and encourage others also. —Richard Higby (name and letter used with permission)

Photo: Vecteezy

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries