My baby turns 16 years old today. I’ve been looking forward to celebrating him in a special way since the calendar rolled into December. But the common cold I thought I had turned on a bitter heel last night and declared itself the flu. I missed the staff Christmas party I had been looking forward to and it’s looking very likely I will also miss the boy’s birthday party. And I am completely helpless to change it.
I’m laying here between violent reminders of this sickness trying to think about Advent, but finding the two realities incongruent. One would not think to put “ravaged flu-wrecked body” and “sweet, baby Jesus” in the same sentence. (But, alas! I just did.)
It doesn’t take much reflection to see how Advent is about acknowledging the wrecked places that Jesus chose to enter. He saw our helplessness and came to our rescue. With the sweetness of His mercy, He came to minister to our disappointment and to restore our devastated places.
“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Romans 5:15
This truth will not change my immediate physical condition, but it has lifted my heart to a place of gratitude. We have a Savior who sees our helpless condition and doesn’t leave us alone in it. Christ continues to enter our helpless places–the flu, cancer, broken marriages, Afghanistan. In all these places, He is present and His presence makes all the difference; for to be helpless does not mean that we must be hopeless.
Where is your helpless place? Not only does Christ enter this place, He understands it. The One who was once the helpless babe in a manger sees and understands. He became helpless so that you and I could have hope! As you continue to prepare your heart in this advent season, give thanks today that Christ is present in the things of which we are helpless.