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Advent: Day Twenty-Two

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.—Luke 1:1-4

Today, we light the fourth candle of Advent. We are so close to the day of celebration that we can hardly stand it. We want the celebration! But we also want Jesus’ promised return. Jesus, come quickly! It is easy to expect that God doesn’t understand the depth of pain we experience, living in a broken world. But because God came to earth and donned human skin, human frailty, He also understands the pain of human longing. He knows the yearning of our hearts and the anxiety it can cause to wait in the midst of trouble.

All across the world today, there are evil things happening. If you’ve lived more than five minutes, if you’ve opened your eyes, if you’ve gotten out of your safe circle, you’ve seen tragedy in this world.

If it weren’t for Christmas, God would have to be either harsh and capricious, like a greek god who enjoys torturing us, or He would have to be the deist who made the world and threw it into space to spin off into the distance.

If it weren’t for Christmas!

Christmas changes everything. It is the story of God hating our suffering and evil so much that, instead of sitting in heaven, aloof and removed from us, and instead of protecting Himself from the pain, He waded right into the deep end of the mess we made. Jesus came and lived out the beginning, middle, and end of the human experience. He is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” according to Isaiah. It can be easy to lose our certainty of all we’ve been taught about Jesus. But Scripture is a reliable account, written to restore our certainty. The early Christians needed that reassurance, and we do too!

During this season of Advent, as we link arms with the men and women of Scripture who faithfully anticipated the arrival of their Savior, we hope these posts have been daily reminders of what God did for us through Christmas. Only three more days of Advent! May you be encouraged to faithfully await His return!

Meditation: Christmas is the story of God stepping into our suffering to redeem and restore everything that broke. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, even death itself will one day be overthrown completely and finally. Jesus is working to fix the things that we’ve broken and to restore the shalom of the universe. Remind yourself of this truth as often as necessary.

Prayer: Jesus, You know what it’s like to lose. You know what it’s like to bury loved ones and what it’s like to be rejected, mocked, and shamed. You know what it’s like to have enemies who hate You. You know what it is to be tortured and to die and, in the dying, to taste the full wrath of God against sin. When tragedy hits, help me look toward the miracle of Christmas—The infinite, glorious God of the universe has taken on flesh and become one of us, so that He might die in our place and redeem us. Thank you.