John the Baptist’s fiery call to repentance sounds harsh when we’re in the midst of preparations for the baby Jesus. The birth of a child is usually preceded by joyful expectation. But the child envisioned by John will come with an axe, with a winnowing fork and with purging flame.
Many of us feel a little silly if we react strongly to the death of a pet or the plight of an animal. “Well, it was just a cat,” we say, embarrassed by our grief. Where does this attitude come from? It’s certainly not biblical.
Advent is a time to recall that it is not our own unpredictable desire for God that shapes our history, but God's faithfulness. Yes, Advent is a season to make our longing conscious. But primarily it is a season to become more aware of the God who creates that longing in us.