The Wait of Advent
Much of December, up to Christmas Day, is referred to as the season of Advent, which means “coming.” For many Christians, these weeks offer an opportunity for a time of preparation as we await the coming of The Greatest Gift – Jesus – and the fact He is coming again, just like He did that first Christmas night. This season is also a reminder of the years and years (and more years) of waiting the Israelites did for the coming of this promised Messiah, whom their own prophets spoke of for generations as The One who would finally come to save and redeem the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. The same people who’d long lived very much as a broken people while either under captivity or as actual slaves or without any real borders since basically their beginning. And so they waited and waited and waited.
Then they waited some more.
And when the promised Messiah finally came, guess what? Most didn’t recognize Him. Why? Maybe it was in the “how” He came?? As a baby, born on the run, in a dirty barn, of a simple virgin who’d been promised to a carpenter, from a town which nothing good ever came. And then, as a carpenter’s son turned nomad, Who came again to His people without any ambitions to rule over them, let alone rule any earthly kingdom, but instead desiring to speak of a Kingdom not of this world. Then spent His time breaking down cultural barriers and casting out demons and speaking against long held traditions and insulting respected leaders, all while choosing to hang with the simple and lowly of society, washing dirty feet and touching the unclean and loving the most unlovely among them.
Bottom line: This Messiah seemed rather messy and nothing special and certainly nothing resembling anything of the saving, life giving sort (unless you got up close and really looked, but that’s for another day!), especially to the super spiritual, hyper rule keeping, educated elites and religious folk of His day.
So, who would ever imagine this Jesus could be God’s very own doing? You’d think the Creator of the Universe, with all its magnificence and grandeur and mystery, would use a bit more flash. A touch more taste. A story way more polished and fancy, or at the very least, cleaned up.
Something a lot less… simple.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.1 cORINTHIANS 1:27
Which makes me think about Romans 8:28… how God promises all who belong to Him that He’ll work all things out for our good and, more specifically, how many of the things that happen in this life don’t really seem like they could ever be worked out for anything good, let alone our own good. And then – honestly – how many are just downright horrible awful!
The Mess of Advent
And, also super messy and completely unwanted.
A lot like the manger in that barn Jesus was brought into the world in and laid upon at birth. Then I think, well… maybe all the messy, dirty, unexpected, unappealing, unwanted, super complicated twists and turns and full on slam brakes of life are actually just like the unassuming and seemingly unwelcome greatest Gift that first Christmas night.
Even if we can’t see it at first. Or, even quite a ways down the road. Until that one day we’re astonished to discover that we’re actually still above water and breathing because we’ve been waiting upon the very wings of This King of Kings, Our Savior, Jesus. The Messiah promised to God’s people all those years ago.
The One Who Is coming back again to finally end every mess that’s ever existed.
And so, maybe this season, seeing the messes in our lives as great gifts in our lives, will help us in all the unwanted waiting in our lives? Maybe we can prepare for His coming by seeing that the broken places are the very places God comes to fix us, so we may be sustained ever more in the wait of His coming back?
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.Isaiah 46:4
Because, maybe, like that first unexpected Gift we’re all awaiting this Advent season, the messy, broken, unwanted things in life, have been allowed to enter our lives by a good and loving God who knows all things and holds all things and created all things. A God Who desires nothing less than to lead us into His good, faithful, and sustaining arms, so He can hold us forever and put us back together…
The exact way we were made to be before we were created.
The Goodness and Perfect Timing and Blessing of Advent
So, this Advent, may you be sustained in your wait. May you believe that God will prove Himself good – and very much worth it – in and through whatever mess you’re staring at this season, all in His Perfect Timing.