Advent should be a time of deep soul searching. That’s another reason why I love it.We go to church, buy presents, light candles, and decorate trees. We hear arguments about whether we should say, “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” And during Advent, atheists come on strong. I heard that they are spending big bucks for bulletin board ads telling us that we Christians are delusional. I personally like the fact that they are vocal because it makes those of us who believe get off the fence and make some serious decisions. Like—who is Jesus, really?
This is the most important question a man, woman, or child can answer. Here’s why. If we do believe that Jesus was not just God’s son, but God Himself, then the moment we choose to believe this, our lives can never be the same. God, who pushed some dirt between His fingers, thrust it into space and called it earth— that God shrank Himself into a three inch embryo and stuck Himself to the wall of a teenager for nine months. If we choose to believe that this God and Jesus are the same people, then we have more serious questions to ponder. Never will we be challenged with mystery of this magnitude.
If God did this, the natural next question is, Why? Clearly God would never do something like this for fun or even for his own benefit. The act was completely altruistic. The answer is chilling: because we, who call ourselves humans, needed it.
And there is the very place where we leave the story. We, who are capable, who have good jobs, go to counselors to get help for our anxieties, depression, attention issues or marital conflicts and who live in home with heat just don’t feel needy. So why in the world would we need such a radical act done for us? We are just fine, thanks.
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to call myself needy. I need to talk less, to show more grace to my husband. I need to focus less on being better, exercising more and pay attention to the deeper things in life—like my spiritual life. When I pray more, I’m a better mom. When I ask God to give me guidance, I’m a nicer person to be around. No, I’m not just fine. I need a whole lot of help.
Then there’s the issue of the “s” word—sin—that old fashioned creepy word that invokes guilt. We don’t hear anyone talk about sin anymore because well, we’re afraid that if we do, friends will run. They will think that we’re being judgmental and all the rest.
I’m here to tell you as a pediatrician who’s listened to thousands of folks over the years that sin is alive and well. It’s just blended in a little better to the landscape. It shows itself in the parent who demeans his kids, the mother who yells too much, and in me when I feel like choking my husband. The sad part of us is that we don’t really appreciate the ripple effect of our sin; it pushes God away. And that grieves Him very much because He, more than anyone on earth, desperately wants our company.
God trapped Himself in the little girl’s womb a couple of thousand years ago because He wants us that badly. Every one of us. No one excluded. His act was radical, violent, and painful. But He did it for me and for each one of you kind readers. He came to get us back. He came to rescue us from our tempers, our impatience, and from the horrors of death itself.
This Advent, I encourage you to ask yourself some very tough questions. If Jesus was God, and if He came to chase you down for Love itself, then what are you going to do about it? Will you continue with life as you know it or will you let Him turn your life upside down and your heart inside out? I dare you to try.