Is It Advent Already?

Is It Advent Already? October 30, 2020

Well, it is Friday. I just thought I’d point that out in case you were unsure.


I have exactly 20 minutes before I have to haul a child off to the eye doctor. What better time, than during an uptick in covid, to try to make up a lot of back appointments that were all dropped because of covid. It’s fine, it’s all going to be fine.


Apparently, according to some ancient text, God works all things together for the good of those he loves and has called according to his purpose—I feel like I read that somewhere. Or maybe I just saw it on a coffee cup. It’s hard to know because of the “deep dive”—sorry, couldn’t help myself—I’m doing on Rachel Hollis, who likes these kinds of clever sayings. Every time I click on another video, the first ten comments are always people accusing her of plagiarism. It’s really interesting. I’m not enough in the world of motivational self-help to spot it myself, but there is a lot of evidence that she readily takes from others without attribution. The one place she doesn’t seem to have a conversant ability from which to borrow, neither in concept nor in any actual quotation, however, is the Bible. So that’s pretty interesting.


I mean, maybe it’s not interesting. I guess probably it’s not interesting. I feel like my sense of what is interesting and what is not interesting has been superlatively ruined by the internet—especially the internet in another interminable election cycle.


Although, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to say that there is a curious kind of difference between the good that we do for ourselves, and the good that God does to us. After laboring through Didn’t See That Coming—which, it turns out, was an excessively ironical book to read on my part, given that something bad did happen to my parents that none of us could have foreseen even if we had sat down and tried to think about it for ages and ages, whereas, for M. Hollis, she absolutely did see it coming, not covid, of course, but her divorce—I find the idea that you must do good for yourself all the time without any pause or hesitation or anything to be rather a cruel and terrible idea.


Because the kind of good that I do for myself can only be done in the dark. This is another bit that stood out to me in all the passages from Isaiah that I read all week. God keeps promising to shine light, which necessarily implies that it needs to be shined. There is no light. We are all in the dark. That is the whole problem. We set out to do one good thing after another, but all of them, being done in the dark, eventually lead to various kinds of ruin, tragedy, and even despair.


Whereas God does all of his good in the light. He can see everything—where the truck is. Where the stuff in the truck is. Where the person is who took the truck. Who was lurking around in the parking lot that night. What it is that my parents most need not only now, but forever. What kinds of things they would suffer. He sees it all. Not one iota of this mess is hidden from him.


One of the things he saw, that I didn’t and couldn’t ever, was how many of you would be moved to prayer and to help. And this is the thing that should not have astonished me, but did, because I have so little vision, so little sight. I lay back in a stupor last night and read all the messages, and prayers, and love from all of you. I didn’t even know you were out there, except in some small way as I’ve chatted here and there on Facebook and other places. Every day I come here and fling up something onto the internet, mostly just trying to sort out my way in the dark, and so many of you have come to read it all, and, I don’t know, give glory to God? That is so astonishing. God does so many good things that we cannot anticipate. How could we? We are so in the dark. And yet he himself is light. Is it Advent yet? It feels like Advent—in the best possible way.

While I sit here and cry more, go check out more takes if you’re up to it.

Browse Our Archives