Advent 2021.2 – Recognize Your Need

I Need Advent

Advent reminds me that there’s another kingdom at work in the world, beyond what I see and experience on a day-to-day level. Beyond the greed, anger, divisive behavior, beyond the obsessive consumerism, beyond the shallow superficiality of our culture.

Recently, I was sitting in the Nike store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, watching all manner of people as they tried on the latest offerings of stylish sneakers and athletic clothing.

As I sat, I found myself gradually more and more “off-center” and slightly sideways.

Why was everyone so desperate to have these on their feet? Why were they spending so much money on them, and just a few weeks from Christmas?

The more I watched, the more indignant I started to become, and the more bitter I became about the state of our society.

And then it hit me: This is why we need Advent.

But not how you think.

No, unfortunately, the thought hit much, much harder than judgment on this consumeristic culture. It hit harder than watching people filling themselves up with the badges of identification and affluence.

Nope. Way harder.

Because what actually hit was, “I need Advent because I am sitting in judgment of all of these people.”

That’s pride.

As far as I can tell, this Kingdom to which I aspire is not one of judgment and separation, but one of humility, unity, and acceptance.

Who appointed me the spiritual judge of the Nike store?

What made me think I knew the story of any of these individuals?

I sat, stewing in my pride and arrogance, and unknowingly confessing my own need for the Coming Kingdom, the “In-Breaking” of God’s rule and reign through the God-Man, Jesus.

(P.S. Things seem to work out about better when I start with my own brokenness, rather than ruminating on the possibility of others’ weaknesses.)

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