Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

This Year Needs Advent, More than Ever

Advent Has begun.  Those four blessed weeks of anticipation for our Lord who steps into our darkness and loves us into the light.  I don't know about you, but I need advent this year.

For some people, 2016 has been good.  This post is not for them.

No. This is for the person who feels like 2016 has ripped them to shreds.  For the person who feels weak and mauled and sapped.  For the person weary of fighting the same battles, wrestling with the same struggles, facing the same ugly truths.  This is for the person who desperately sings "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel."

This year needs advent.  More so than Christmas itself, we need this sacred season of anticipation of a God who comes for us, a God who doesn't leave us forever in those dry and empty places.

I need 4 full weeks of slow and messy contemplation of a God who came to pick up my sin and carry it to the cross.  I need to be ever pointed back to the God who walked this earth, kicked up this dust, and cried our salty tears.  

We anticipate.  Not the coming of presents and food and candlelight carols (although those things are beautiful.) No, we anticipate a God who is coming back.  A God who rescues us from ourselves, who hears our heart cries and weeps with us. Emmanuel, God with us.

Friends, my prayer for you and me this advent season is that all sense of familiarity with these Chrismas truths would crumble away.  That we would see as if for the first time the miraculous beauty of a God King Baby in a manger, destined to die in our place.  That we would hear the carols with new ears, soak up the scriptures as if they have not become tired Christmas tales, and marvel at the hope that has come and is coming for us. May we stand in awe of a God who has felt this air in His lungs and this wind on His cheeks and this anguish in His heart.

And when the season feels empty, when the presents and the sparkles and the feasting feels heavy and foreign, that our hearts would grasp again onto our Saviour King who was born for us.

They say it is better to give than to receive, but Christmas at it's core is about receiving, isn't it?  A world that has received it's King, a broken and scarred humanity that has received it's salvation, desperate trampled hearts that receive hope. Oh, we need to receive in order to give. We are ever in need of receiving Him.

Friend, 2016 was hard.  And maybe better days aren't on the horizon yet.  I'm so sorry for the pain this year has brought you.  I'm sorry for the dis-ease and the hurt and the heart-ache and this bloody fallen world.  My hope for us both is that when we need it most our hearts will hear that gentle whisper, and we will grasp, as if for the first time, that Emmanuel has come. God is with us.

If this post touched your heart, will you share it?   And thank you so much for reading my words, I am honoured.


  1. Beautiful words this morning. Thank you for sharing your heart.