Advent

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written for myself.

After returning home just in time for Thanksgiving, my life has been consumed with writing for other people – delivering the stories of the incredible people I met this fall. So me-writing (and blog-writing) screeched to a halt to accommodate the 385 stories of clients I had due last week.

But friends.

It’s advent.

And I’m home.

And I have thoughts.

Advent has never felt more like a more apt season than it does right now. Just look around. We NEED Jesus. We need God to make himself visible and present and KNOWN.

Because it feels remarkably silent.

We watch bombs explode and destroy. See kids tweeting the end of their short lives. Where are you, Jesus? Why are you not taking over Aleppo? Why have you left us so alone?

Closer to home, we look around at our own sterilized version of fighting. Destruction. War. And all I can cry is the same thing – why? Please? SHOW UP.

Where are you, God? And perhaps more honestly, why are you not HERE?

And then I remember – this is what it feels like.

This is sitting in broken need.

This is what advent really is.

It’s not anticipating Jesus with chocolate calendars and candles on a wreath, but needing, crying out for, LONGING for Jesus with desperation. With guttural hunger.

This is the advent of that first Christmas.

Because prior to the birth of Jesus, God was silent for 400 years.

God went dark and I have to imagine the chorus was a steady crying-out refrain of “Where are you, God? And could you please be HERE?”

Maybe for the first time we can truly imagine advent. A dark shadow when all you can cling to is the tiniest strand of hope. The vestiges of your faith reminding you that you aren’t crazy – that you haven’t given your life to something imaginary.

Because in that dark night, we keep watching for the star.

We wait.

And wait and wait and wait.

The exile lasted for 400 years.

They WAITED.

But then. The star.

The light the breaks the darkness. The light that points to a baby who came to save the world.

Hope incarnate.

We know how the story ends – that’s our advantage. We know that God DOES show up – as a baby born in a manger to a single teenage mom. He shows up in the most unexpected way, but he doesn’t leave us alone.

This is grace.

This is the character of God. And the character of God doesn’t change. So the God that showed up in the manger 2000 years ago is going to show up now – because that is who God is.

In fact, God is already HERE. His spirit is all over the place. In you. And me.

And so maybe – just maybe – God showing up looks an awful lot like you and me showing up. Maybe it looks like the body of Christ 2.0 – the church – replicating the actions of the original living Christ. Healing and caring and eating dinner with weirdos. Going to the places where other people don’t go, flipping the status quo on its head, overflowing with unconditional love.

We can carry that light. We can break the darkness.

God is in us – he is here – and he ALWAYS shows up.

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