Sometimes, we need to set aside something really good to enjoy something better.
She lays down her interior design dreams to help him finish his degree. He stays home with the boys so she can pursue her calling. They don’t take a vacation for years to save up for an adopted child. They remain celibate until the wedding vows.
As Christians, there are also certain times of the church year set apart to take inventory of our hearts and habits. Are there any good things that are usurping the better ones?
During Advent, we pause in all the good to pay attention to something better.
Advent invites questions that slow us down in all our good endeavors. What pleasant comforts are lulling me to sleep? What practices are acceptable, but not life-giving? Where am I blind? Deaf? Numb to the wonder of God with us?
Thankfully, we’re not left to figure all these things on our own. The Bible shows us that Our Brother – who never asks us to do more than he was willing to do – temporarily left the shalom of his Father’s home for something better. Why?
Advent begs that question.
Why would God’s only and beloved son leave the fullness of heaven to grow up as one of many children in a low-income family? Why would the King of all kings leave his throne to become one of the harried, non-elite, working poor?
If we are willing, Advent is a gentle season to look hard at these questions. As help in our journey, the Incarnation story (the beginning of all things) points us directly to the end of the story (the beginning of all made-new things).
The End of the real story: Jesus of Nazareth, born to an unmarried teenage girl, is going to rescue the world, and everything in it. What the…? How? Why?
Because he made it all, and it all belongs to him. We belong to him.
The End of the real story: The Son of God obeyed his Heavenly Father, and things are not the same.
Because the Son considered it better to suffer and die out of love for his Father, we are marked as Christ’s own forever.
Does this fill us with joy? Wonder? Confidence?
The End of the real story: We are not alone: God’s own life-giving, death-conquering Spirit is alive and well on the earth and in the hearts of all who love him.
He is actively moving before and through all things; creating light in the dark, and beauty from ashes.
Let’s wake up now, and join him.
He is not far off. Can you hear him?
He is Faithful and True, the Head of every man.
“And he has on his robe and on his thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelations 19)
He has come, and He is coming again, just as he said He would.
How will he find us when he comes?
Peace to you, as you joyfully wait for the Bridegroom, your Savior.