This month I’ve been reading Advent by Fleming Rutledge. The book is a collection of her writings and sermons on Advent which she insists is not just the coming of baby Jesus, but the “once and future coming of Jesus Christ.” I’ve made my way slowly, one tiny section each night before sleeping, and it wakes me from my stupor. It is easy for me to believe the stories on the surface of living: Christmas is commercial, next year will be better, I am what I make of myself. Marinating in those lies makes me sluggish, unwilling and unprepared to move with the demands and truths of life.
Instead of being lulled to sleep, I am called to be awake. If I was dead before Christ, now I am alive. As one who is alive, I am a child of the day, called to self-control and putting on armor. Rutledge frequently references 1 Thessalonians 4 in her Advent teaching, a passage speaking of judgment and relief that sounds unfamiliar to my Christmas ears. Because my mind associates Advent with a baby, with good news, with hope, I need her reminders that yes, Advent is about hope, but it is hope in the face of horror.