The season of Advent kicked off this past Sunday according to the church calendar. During this time of expectancy and preparation, the church has historically spoken to the topics of hope, joy, peace and love. We’ll explore these topics over the next four weeks, but today we are going to start some place different.
We’re going to explore the claim that no matter what you are currently going through Advent is for you and a reminder that God will meet you there in the midst of it.
Chelsea is currently 24 weeks pregnant with cravings for Indian food and DQ Blizzards. Not gonna lie…dinners have been weird and awesome. Baby Frazier number 3 will be joining us sometime in March and we could not be more excited.
Thinking about having another kid is crazy and beautiful. You pray that they are healthy, start having conversations to your wife’s stomach like some weirdo, and you dream about creating a future that sets this child up for success.
It can also be incredibly nerve wracking. Davy was a miracle, we’ve sadly had numerous miscarriages among our community and sometimes there is fear in the acknowledgement that I won’t be able to keep them from the sadness in the world.
Having a new baby entering our life and this time of Advent has given me pause to think upon the beauty and sadness found in the birth of Jesus.
It’s incredibly beautiful. New life bursting forth, the unspeakable happiness his parents must have felt and the child who is God coming to rescue his people.
At the same time it’s also terribly sad. This beautiful life, this truly innocent, in every sense of that word, child came to earth to die for the sins of man. It was always going to end there. It was a life leading to nails, blood, a cross, a crown, a payment, death and a tomb.
These elements of the story present its hearers a tension they must attempt to hold, but I want to share why I believe that’s a incredible gift to those of us who will receive it.
I believe it’s a gift because Advent is a reminder of where God meets us. Yes, Advent is about hope, joy, peace and love, but it’s also about how God joins us in our despair, sadness, brokenness and sin. God is going to bring full redemption to the world one day, but we don’t have to forsake an honest telling of our stories in the process. This is the God of hope, but who was well acquainted with sorrow. We worship the God who brings forth new life, but also tasted the horror of death. Advent is a reminder that God meets us no matter what season of life we are experiencing.
Right now, life might be going well. You are right in the middle of your own personal Hallmark movie. You have left the big city for a quick weekend getaway and have fallen in love with the small town baker. This town is pristine in the winter and the only struggle it seems is if you’ll wear the red or green sweater that day. Praise God for when life is good and Advent meets us right there in the midst of our joy.
Advent reminds us to celebrate the good. Our Savior entered into the world to rescue us. He gives us life, breath and everything else (Acts 17:25). He is the one who gives us these good gifts (James 1:17) and desires us to celebrate those good things. However, he also wants to draw our eyes from the present to the horizon where eternity awaits.
Advent reminds us that life is beautiful, but it’s not an end to itself. Advent encourages us to celebrate our life, but beckons us towards the ultimate reality. Life is more than what’s happening in this moment. Yes, it’s the celebration of life and the birth of our Savior, but it’s also the expectancy of eternal life and his return! It is of course material in its tactile experience, but it is also spiritual in its unseen reality. Advent meets you in the present moment of celebration, but also whispers to your soul of future glorification.
On the other hand, life might not possess much color or warmth right now. There is turmoil, sadness, and loss. Chels and I have walked through many times in that emotional state. Seasons where there was loss and the acute awareness that holidays would never be quite the same. Sometimes we experience the harsher sides of a sin exposed world, but we discover that Advent speaks to us there as well.
Advent reminds us that God shared in our humanity and suffering. He knows loss, sadness, turmoil, and abandonment. He is the great high priest who sympathizes with us (Heb. 4:15). During the darker times of life, Advent proclaims that God enters into the dark places as Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23), prompts us to recall that the darkness shall not overcome the light (John 1:14) and turns our hearts to the knowledge that one day Jesus is returning to make sure there are no more tears, no more pain and no more death. (Rev. 21:4).
Advent shouts to us that we are not alone and that we can make it out the other side of whatever we are experiencing. The Word has become flesh to dwell amongst us (John 1:1) and the Word shall return as a conquering King (Rev. 19:11-16). We don’t have to be engulfed by present suffering or sadness, but instead can stand upon the rock and entrust our future to the One who is working all things together for the good (Rom. 8:28). Advent meets you in the present moment of trial to point you to the reality of future triumph.
Ultimately, no matter where you find yourself Advent is for you. It’s for you because it’s a reminder that God will meet you and be with you no matter what you are walking through presently. It’s a reminder that God entered into the world as a baby, paid for our sins, but is returning again to end sin once and for all.
Let us lean in this Advent season to the God who knows our frame, is with us through it all, and will make all things beautiful in its time.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10