Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent is for days like this

This is why we have Advent.

One of Satan's tricks is to make us distrust heaven, to desire this world and indeed hell itself over an eternity without sin and death.  Instead of crying out, 'Come quickly, Lord!' Satan wants us to say, 'Take your time, Jesus, things are going just fine down here.'  He wants us to cling to this world where our bodies wear out and die, where natural disasters occur, where a young man would take the lives of small children and their teachers.  Advent teaches us that this is all a lie, that it is precisely to deliver us from this world that Jesus came and that He will come again.

Advent is for days like this, when unspeakable tragedy confronts us, when horrors that we cannot imagine invade our lives.  Advent shows us God's answer to suffering; John the Baptist's finger points us to the One who came because we live in a world filled with evil.  Jesus came because of the cruelty of sinful man.  Jesus came to confront and defeat the sin that fills the hearts of people who commit heinous crimes, the same sin that infects us all.  Jesus came to suffer in our place, so that suffering would end forever, so that death would not be our final destination, so that we could have hope when faced with evil.  The answer of God to sin, death, and evil is the death and resurrection of His Son, it is the cross and empty tomb.  That is what Advent is all about: the God who came to us to defeat sin and death, the God who yet comes to us to assure us of His love and mercy in the midst of tragedy, the God who will come again, bringing an end to sin and death forever.  Advent teaches us to yearn for our Lord's return when evil strikes, to cry out with all the Church throughout the ages, even the martyrs under the heavenly altar, 'Come quickly!'

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.'  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!"

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