The Good News, the Gospel, is about knowing and experiencing comfort—not comfort in the sense of having things, or being at peace, nor comfort in terms of the absence of pain, hurt, loss, illness, or suffering, but a comfort that makes one feel that no matter what may be happening now, or what will be happening tomorrow, all is well, and all will be well. Comfort means to “impart strength and hope.” Comfort is to feel that we are in good hands, hands that will not drop us, hands that will never let us go. “Fear not!”
It is hard to believe or feel or think of comfort in the midst of our present day dilemmas. “In the world you will have trouble,” Jesus said. No kidding! How can anyone find “strength and hope” in a world like this? Is this world a fearful place or is it a God-bathed world? Christmas suggests the latter. Christmas tells us that God broke through and has continued to break through ever since, saying, “Comfort, comfort my people (Isaiah 40:1).”
Advent is a time for openness and expectancy. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door I will come in and dwell with her/him.” This amazing presence of love, will slip through even if that door is opened by just a crack. God is that eager to break through to you and to me and give us comfort—the strength and hope we need for the living of these days.
|Sunset, Organ Pipe National Park, AZ|
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of ‘Peace on earth, good will to men!’
(And) In despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said,
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!’
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men!”