Advent is Latin for arrival. The next four weeks are an invitation to remember and look forward to God’s arrival. However, if you look at scripture closely or your life, God’s timing is always unexpected. God often arrives only when everything becomes bleak.
Since the beginning, when the Spirit of God arrived on the chaotic waters, we see God showing up in empty places.
God arrives in the barren womb of Sarai, and Rebecca, and Rachel. The arrival transforms the unexpecting women into expecting mothers.
God arrives in the bondage slavery to free the Israelites. God rescue them from the encroaching Egyptian army when there is no way.
God arrives again in the barren womb of Elizabeth and fills her with the prophet John the Baptist.
God arrives to the empty womb of Mary and fills her with the salvation of the world in Jesus.
The Spirit of God fills John the Baptist in the barrenness of the wilderness to preach a message of hope.
In the tomb filled with the stench of death, God arrives and brings life.
Advent promises that when hell comes, heaven is not far behind.
It is the recognition that the greater the suffering, the greater the joy. The greater the darkness, the greater the light. The greater the pain of death and loss, the greater hope of life and joy
Advent is not the most wonderful time of the year, but the most troubling. But where there is trouble, there is God.
Advent recognizes the reality of pain, suffering, sin, and death. But advent also reminds us that God is arriving. God is coming.
Advent provides the strength to say, "come, oh come Emmanuel," oh come labor pains, oh come darkness, oh come loss, because God and resurrection are right behind you.