God has Spoken - some thoughts on Advent
Wes Simmons | November 29, 2017
Do you ever wonder if, when or how God is going to show up in your life, particularly in places that are painful and need redeeming – places where you may feel abandoned? Why is He seemingly silent and even absent at times?
If so, you’re not alone. All of us wonder about those things at times. In fact, God’s people did as well – for 400 years! After the Old Testament Prophets, there was a period of time Biblical scholars like to call the ‘Inter-Testamental Period’ (the time between the Old and New Testaments, as recorded in Scripture) that lasted roughly 400 years. Let that sink in. Not just a separation page in your Bible, but 400 years – of silence, of waiting, of questions. Of wondering where God was, if He had abandoned His people and if He was going to show up to redeem and restore what was broken.
After those 400 years, the silence was broken; the waiting had come to an end. Through the birth of Jesus, God was speaking into the silence. But, God’s long-awaited Word didn’t show up in the way His people expected Him to - not as a political ruler who would conquer His enemies and topple other earthly kingdoms, but as a Spiritual King who would bring all things under his dominion and rule by laying down His own life for His people.
Understandably, His people were confused; He certainly didn’t look like they thought He would look – when He finally showed up. In much the same way, we are often confused when God shows up in our lives because it rarely looks the way we have imagined it would (or should) look. He often shows up in ways we don’t expect Him to, for reasons we don’t understand.
Much like a wax imprint of an emperor’s ring on a sealed letter, Jesus gives us an up-close and personal view of the character and nature of God – the exact imprint of God - in human form. In part, this was so we could see Him, walk with Him, listen to Him, understand what matters to Him, understand why He had to die for His people – why He had to take on our sin so He could give us His righteousness.
To understand the spoken Word, you first have to understand the silence. Advent is a reminder of God speaking into your silence, your doubts, your questions, your fears, your sin, wondering where He is – speaking in the form of His Son, Jesus. Advent doesn’t promise immediate answers to all of our questions, but it does promise His presence with us in the middle of the questions.
Let it be that for you this year. Amidst the flurry of excitement, the good food, the celebration, and gifts, let Advent give you the gift of His peace and presence. Be reminded that you have a God who wants to be known, a God who loves you so much that He wanted to share with you what He was like - and how much He would give - to rescue and redeem you for Himself. And He did just that, in Jesus.
As we wait for the Second Advent, the return of Christ – when all things will be made new and all of our pain will be redeemed – remember that we wait with hope, with expectation, with joy, with trust – because God has spoken to us in His Son, Jesus.
Rejoice and be glad. He has spoken into the silence.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Wes Simmons is currently the campus minister at Auburn University.