"So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness." (John 1:14)
The last few weeks in our country have been difficult to say the least. The turmoil, suffering, and racial division has been heart wrenching. These moments have been a fresh reminder to me for why the advent of Christ was so necessary.
Our society teaches us to avoid suffering at all costs and to seek our own happiness even if it requires being indifferent to the pain of others. This is why Advent has been replaced by holiday parties and shopping. Don't get me wrong, I like cheesy Christmas songs and exchanging gifts as much as anyone. I am not a scrooge.
However, sometimes the holidays can cause us to forget the true essence of Advent. Advent reminds us that the gospel is very different than our cultural values. Advent is the season when we remember that Jesus put on flesh and dwelt among us. Christ being born in a manger reveals a God who does not avoid our suffering and messiness, but enters into it. Jesus knew suffering from the moment he entered the world. He was born into poverty as a refugee fleeing from genocide. He served others and healed wounds. He wept for us and with us. Eventually he was tortured and executed by the very people he came to save. Advent is not simply a sweet story about a baby born in a manger. Christ came to a world filled with darkness. He came as a light for the world. He came to show us that there is another way. We do not have to sin. We do not have to hate one another.
"I am the light of the world." Jesus (John 9:5)
So during this season of Advent, let us seek ways to be light in a dark world. Let us seek to be instruments of peace and healing. Yes, the world is still dark. Suffering, pain, and injustice are still very real. But the darkness will not win. Christ has come...and he will come again.
"...the darkness is disappearing and the true light is already shining." (1 John 2:8)
"The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." (John 1:5)