We put up our Christmas tree yesterday. It is beautiful – a Balsam pine tree that brings the forest into our living room. It’s a tall tree, reaching proudly to our ceiling, decked out in the season’s finest white lights and many years of ornaments.
I sit beside our tree and I almost forget that our world is hurting. Almost, but not quite.
Underneath and surrounding the bright lights of Christmas is the reality that we live in a broken world. Somehow the holidays make it seem worse. We have an expectation that because it’s a holiday, life will work. We will have a short respite from tragedy and heart break. But our expectations are quickly shattered as we face the death of a loved one, the break-up of a marriage, the tragedy of an earthquake or a plane crash.
Tragedy and loss, broken cars and broken kids, hurting and homeless ones do not bend to the will of holiday cheer. A broken world doesn’t stop being broken just because we dress it up in twinkling lights and brilliant red and gold baubles. Broken is still broken.
Into this broken world comes Advent. Advent doesn’t present us with false expectations or promises; Advent gives us room to long for all to be made right, to long for peace, to long for broken to be made whole.
Advent….it’s the longing for the world to be as it was created to be. It’s a spiritual longing for all to be made right, for a broken world to find redemption and with redemption be made whole and complete. To see a homeless woman with neuropathy and long for her to be made whole and find a home; to hear of earthquakes and long for rescue; to hear of atrocities and long for justice; to hear of plane crashes and long for comfort; to see the world as it was intended, not as it is.
But Advent does something else – Advent shows us that the broken world and the broken one are welcomed into the arms of God.
If you are weary this Advent season, if you are face to face with tragedy and death, with the broken bones of a weary world, know that you are welcomed into the arms of God.
Note: This post is a rewrite from one posted one year ago called “A Broken World Meets an Advent Season.”