The Inconvenience of the Advent

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Everything’s lit… literally 😏. But aside from all of the traditions of Christmas, this time is specifically set apart to reflect and honor the truth of the incarnation of Christ in human flesh.

Usually this season of reflection is overshadowed by the commercialism and mythology of Santa, elves, reindeer, etc., but the time we set apart to celebrate the coming of Christ is still foundational for those of us who are Christians.

The term used to speak of the coming of Christ in the flesh is advent, which means the coming of a notable person or event, and I’m always grateful when we get to reflect on this moment more intently than usual. No, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but I cherish this season as the opportunity to celebrate this reality.

One thing that has truly captured my intrigue this year is how inconvenient the advent of Christ actually is.

As a man, I don’t have to think of or go through carrying a child, so I don’t know how inconvenient it feels to carry a child. Especially one that is the fulfillment of prophecy. But as a man I can almost imagine the feeling Joseph got when he was told by Mary, the woman he was betrothed to, that she was with child by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.

To be betrothed was to be engaged to marry, but was as binding as marriage. The time period of betrothal was used for the groom to prepare a home for the bride, etc. To have married a virgin, yet discover that she is pregnant threw all of their future plans in doubt.

Have you ever experienced the inconvenience of a blessing before? I know it seems disrespectful to see it as such, but really think about it. Mary was literally called blessed of all women by the angel, and she truly was, but the circumstances this created would make her feel like it wasn’t at the time. This blessing also introduced new threats to this couple that they could’ve never anticipated.

If Joseph had decided to put her away by divorcing her, she would’ve been destitute by virtue of her apparent adultery. Likewise, Joseph had to deal with the perception of having a child he did not personally conceive. All the makings of an unplanned pregnancy.

In spite of all the inconvenience this caused them, not only was God faithful and provided direction and favor, but Joseph and Mary honored the Lord for what He chose to do through them.

They were willing to trust God, no matter how inconvenient this great thing God was doing was for them, and it causes me to reflect on what it means to trust and submit to His plans.

It’s really easy to receive the blessing of being used by God, but it’s really hard to receive it when that blessing is inconvenient. When I pray for God to bless me to be a blessing, it really makes me think about how God actually answers that. The favor of God can even place you in dangerous situations, where you have to continue to trust in God to show you His favor throughout the process. Can you still trust in what He’s doing when experiencing what doesn’t look like favor?

As we remember the birth of Christ, may we recognize the favor and blessing of God, even when it’s inconvenient for us.

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