This Advent season, when I pause to reflect on the meaning of it and prepare for that feast day and celebration that is Christmas, my heart is filled with gratitude. It may seem rather simple to say, but I’m really grateful that God came.
It’s that simple, and that stunning. A week ago, I tried to get at this in a couple of sentences in a sermon at The Falls Church Anglican. “The latest count of the number of galaxies in the universe is something around 100 Billion. That’s a lot. The number of stars in those galaxies is so much more than that, and the number of planets revolving around those stars is so much more than that! It’s a one followed by a lot of zeroes! And the Bible says that the One who made it all, who made each planet going around every star in every galaxy, that that God took on human flesh, and came to this one, ours, Earth, 2000 years ago in a specific time and place. The Bible says that Jesus is the one who made it all, and he came here so we could know what God is like, and that he loves us. That’s surprising.”
It’s also really good news.
A while ago I came across this from Fr. Christopher Mahar, and quite a few months later it still comes back to me often. It helps me understand the Christian vocation, but also the depth of God’s love, and God’s love for us and for me. “God saw the suffering and the pain in the world He created, and He chose to come to us in the midst of it. Think about how different that is from the choices so many people make, especially in our present culture. They look at all that is wrong with the world, and all the suffering, and say, “I would never want to bring a child into this world.” God looks at all the suffering and everything that is wrong around us and says, “I must be born into that world. I must come and respond to those who are suffering and who find themselves in sorrow and distress. I will come to them.”
The world is a mess. Our country is a mess. I am a mess. And God came, and God comes. The first Advent and all that it set up, means that, by the power of the Holy, Advent can happen every day. Oh I am grateful.
In the David Crowder Band’s magnificent final album called Give Us Rest (Or A Requiem Mass In C (The Happiest Of All Keys)), there’s a little treasure buried in the middle, simply titled “Sequence 4”. I love the chorus, because of the lyrics and also because of the way he sings it. “My God you came…down.”
Faint and weary you have sought me
Oh my Saviour God,
through the cross you have bought me
What a love–your son for my salvation
What a cost–your wondrous incarnation
God you came….God you came
My God you came down
God you came…God you came
My God you came down
“Thank you God, for coming. I’m really grateful. Amen”