We recently returned from a family vacation to Ireland. When trying to decide whether or not to go, one of the things we considered was the weather. On paper, Everett and Ireland have pretty much the same weather this time of year: cloudy, rainy, windy, and just not a very nice place to be if you want to be outside. Realizing we could be cold and wet in a different country or cold and wet here, we decided to branch out and travel somewhere new.
Not all Rain is the Same
But there was a difference. Apparently not all rain is created equal, even when the weather statistics look the same. Irish rain and Everett rain, while equally wet and cold, are not equally depressing.
Everett rain is depressing because it is paired with dark grey clouds that never part and never abate; it is at times enough to make you cry out to God, “How long O’ Lord will the gloom remain?” Irish rain, on the other hand, is broken quite frequently by patches of sun. Not just muted, filtered sun, but brilliant and warm-on-your-face sun. Even though it seems dark and wet for a time, you know with blessed assurance the sun will break through later that day and not just at season's end.
Seeing it Differently
This perspective shift captures much of the hope of Advent for the Christian. Advent is a relatively short time of waiting and hoping. This hope is not far off -- like the breaking Irish sun, it is near. We know as we participate in Advent that the Coming Day is near for us. Remembered on Christmas Day, we celebrate that God came to be with us, bear our iniquities, and carry our sin as far as the east is from the west. We celebrate that the sun of God’s light broke through the dark and the gloom; that God’s redemption is not a distant, uncertain hope but a near and sure one.
God has come! He heard the cries of his people in great darkness and brought them light.
Advent is an opportunity to share this hope for those who are, spiritually speaking, stuck in a perpetual state of Everett winter. We have all walked in this same way. We all know what it is like to look for hope in things that fail us again and again, seeking the breaking of the season but it never comes. There is no true hope outside of the coming of Jesus -- no true hope outside of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Advent is a season in which we must take the opportunity to invite those who do not know Jesus Christ into the new light of the hope that Advent brings. Your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers need to hear this good news. Might you take this beautiful Good News story of Advent and share it with them?
The clouds have been broken, God came to dwell with his people and will come again bringing with him a daybreak that will never be lessened or muted, for all eternity.