Advent: enmeshed in human suffering.

Advent proves God is quite aware of our suffering, and not willing to stay at arms-length from it.

“We sometimes wonder why God doesn’t just end suffering. But we know that whatever the reason, it isn’t one of indifference or remoteness. God so hates suffering and evil that He is willing to come into it and become enmeshed in it.”

How so?

“When September 11th happened and [it hit home and we] started to suffer, you heard two voices. You heard the conventional moralistic voices saying, ‘When I see you suffer, it tells me about a judging God. You must not be living right, and so God is judging you.’ When they see suffering, they see a judgmental God.

The secular voice said, ‘When I see people suffering, I see God is missing.’ When they see suffering, they see an absent, indifferent God.

But when we see Jesus Christ dying on the cross through an act of violence and injustice, what kind of God do we see then? A condemning God? No, we see a God of love paying for sin. Do we see a missing God? Absolutely not! We see a God who is not remote but involved.”

—Tim Keller, “The Gifts of Christmas,” pages 38-39 in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: experiencing the peace and promise of Christmas, edited by Nancy Guthrie. Adapted from “Mary,” sermon by Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, December 23, 2001.

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