Christmas is a great time of year. I love the music of Christmas. It is cheerful, hopeful, and fun. The lights are really great, too. In my home town of Rochester, Michigan they do the downtown in lights and it is breath taking.
There are also great movies for Christmas. “It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and Elf are just a few of my Holiday favorites. They are just like the music, cheerful, hopeful, and fun. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
My pastor reminded me that the first Christmas wasn’t all that lovely. It was filled with pain (evidently childbirth hurts) and discomfort (they were in an animal stall), and the world was a mess (they were under the rule of the Roman Empire). The first Christmas was anything but glitter and lights, happy, or hopeful.
What makes Advent so great is that the world found out that God wasn’t afraid to get dirty. God got dirt under his fingernails.
Another thing that makes Advent so great is that God entered into our story and became a part of our story. God got involved with our lives in a deeply intimate and personal way. God entered into our mess and sorrow. God entered into our pain and suffering. We, in turn, became a part of God’s story. We enter into God’s joy and healing. We enter into his wholeness and light.
Advent teaches me that if I am going to make a difference in the world around me, I have to be willing to get down and dirty with the people in my community. It is one thing to give money to a worthy cause. The organizations to which we give can do more for the people they serve than we can, so give generously. That isn’t, however, the end of our responsibility.
Advent shows me that in order to make a difference in the world; I have to get involved in a personal way and there are drawbacks to that kind of involvement. Once I start to get involved in people’s lives, their pain becomes my pain. Their struggles become my struggles. When they cry, I cry. When they hurt, I hurt. Involvement like this is costly, but worth it.
Entering into someone’s pain is life-changing. It is in the midst of pain and sorrow that I begin to see God working in the midst of it all. God, through my presence, moves into a room of sorrow and begins to fill it with joy. Where there is brokenness, God starts to bring healing. It is truly amazing to see how God works through my simple presence and willingness to face life’s hurts.
Advent teaches me that I need to get involved. The true Spirit of Christmas is getting right down into the middle of the muck and mire of life and showing that there is hope. This is similar to the angel’s announcement in Luke 2.10. They said, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”
Advent is all about a God that came to us, got dirty, and made us clean.
We all could learn that lesson during this Advent Season.