Third week of Advent: Dec 14 - 20
Advent Reflection - Meade Baker
I have my share of scars. I’ve injured myself in a motorcycle crash and broken ribs surfing, sledding and embarrassingly enough - giving my kid a bath. But my worst injury involved an accident with a table saw. Fortunately I had access to a top surgeon who successfully repaired my hand. Compared to others though, I’ve had it easy. I’ve had friends and family whose bodies and minds experienced devastating brokenness. Friends whose legs fail and must use a wheelchair. Those whose bodies betray them with depression, addiction and chronic illness. Those with lives ravaged by cancer, violence and war. Ultimately, none of us escapes the devastation of pain and death. In the words of Jim Morrison, “No one here gets out alive.”
Yet the Advent season offers hope and joy to everyone ravaged by the world’s brokenness. The incarnation foreshadows the good work God has already begun in the world. The immortal and infinite Lord of the universe entered into his own creation in the person of Jesus. God took on flesh that his flesh might be broken for us. N.T. Wright, the British theologian says,“Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.”
It is precisely about healing broken bodies, hearts, minds and spirits. Jesus took a physical body to heal and restore the physical world. The word Advent means arrival. During advent we look back to the first coming of Jesus and look forward to his second coming when he will make all things sad come untrue. It says so in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 54-55:
We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will
be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed... When the
perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on
immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
When you hear an ambulance siren, when you see someone in a wheelchair, when you battle depression, when you confront the wrongness and brokenness of this fallen world, remember Jesus took on flesh to join us in that brokenness, so that we could join him in his infinite joy. And this joy won’t be a disembodied ethereal heaven in the sky; it will be physically restored and renewed physical reality where our bodies, minds, and spirits function without the curse of sin and death. As the carol says “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.”
To read more Advent reflections, visit our Advent/ Christmas page and download our Advent Prayerbook to follow along with us this season!