More Than A Countdown
Every believer tastes the distance of God. When the clouds of life smother us with darkness, it is common to look up and see no light. Abraham, David, Elijah and Job form a quartet questioning, “God where are You?” It is a question that presses against the head and heart of those who love and follow God. Advent is an answer to the dilemma. Advent season is more than a countdown. It is not a preparation for Christmas, but of Christ. Neither does Advent simply announce what has happened. Christ came. Advent is the anticipation of a promise. God comes. He always has. Proof is scattered throughout the Biblical narrative.
At the very beginning God drew near to His creation. Adam, Eve and God walked together in the garden during the cool of the day. Adam and Eve tried to hide from Him after their disobedience, but even then, God sought and found them. The drama of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob demonstrates that God wanders with us to provide, guide and bless. When the people of Jehovah multiply into a nation, God is seen in a pillar of fire and smoke. He is willing to be carried on their shoulders via the Ark of the Covenant. David and Solomon are commanded to build Him a home in their midst and the glory of His presence descends upon the temple. Ultimately God comes, not just to us, but like us in Jesus Christ. God wears the Name Emmanuel - God is with us!
God continually enacts the meaning of Advent. He came. He comes. He will come. Clouds may thicken and block our vision of the sun, but the sun still shines. I may struggle to perceive the nearness of God, but the Bible shouts and proves. He can’t stay away from us! God is far more ready to come to me than I am to Him. Please note the absurdity of that. Surely we have read it wrong. We are the ones who should go to Him. The lesser ought to approach the Greater. Our feet should move towards Him out of desire, duty and need. We should ascend the steps of the temple and hope for a summons of mercy. Who would criticize a still God who awaits the advent of His people? That makes sense to me, but that isn’t the story of Scripture.
We are the prodigals who, in the midst of returning, find the Father running towards us. We are the disciples drenched and drowning in fear on Galilean waves, and then see Jesus walking our way on the water. We are on the road to Emmaus, confused by life and burdened with pain. A Stranger saddles up alongside us. He paces with us, igniting our hearts. We are the New Jerusalem, adorned like a Bride walking down the aisle. The choir is singing, “The dwelling place of God is with man! He will dwell with them and they will be His people.” The shadows depart leaving only the brightness of His glory. We enter an eternal Advent.