The Joy and Grief of Advent

This time of advent, also known as Christmas, has been a heavy one for many of us. Some of us are struggling financially, with the desire to give what we cannot. Others are weighed down with the grief of loss through death, sickness, or broken relationships.

I personally wanted to have more money right now, and while I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to get gifts for the ones I love, I still wish I could do more and be at a better place financially. All of these things may seem like an intrusion into this time of celebration, and we can feel as if our loss doesn’t fit into how we remember Jesus. But there’s something that happened around the birth of Christ that really stands out, with the pains and grief of this moment bursting through the joyful birth of Christ.

The violent murders that happened as a result of Christ’s birth are a stark contrast in a season filled with joy and miracles, and it’s not often that we get to ponder on the loss that occurred during this time. As the whole world gained a King wrapped in swaddling cloth, within two years, mothers were grieving the loss of their children two years and younger.

What do you say to a mother who lost her child, all because of a king’s irrational and evil actions, who was able to have the child killed with just his word? How does the birth of the Messiah child look to her in light of the loss of her own?

Some would say, “Why didn’t God just stop Herod from doing what he did, isn’t He in control?” I would say that God was in control, and He still is. His birth didn’t stop death from happening, but His birth was the visible response to death itself.

It is because of His birth that He could live a perfect and righteous life, then die for the cause of death which is sin, and then defeat death by rising again. God knew that stopping an act that causes death wouldn’t stop death from affecting us. In the midst of kings and rulers committing murder and violence, He established His kingdom that was not of this world.

So as we move into Christmas day, let us remember that the light of the world came, even as darkness surrounded and responded to His coming. The ladies who wept for their children had the opportunity of experiencing the presence of God, because He draws near to the brokenhearted.

The advent, or coming of Christ brought joy, hope, and salvation.

The advent includes the pains of loss with the gains of joy.

Remember that the God who was made flesh remembers your loss and your grief, and He gave the greatest gift of all. Himself.

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