Missing God at Advent?

To Herod, control was everything.

Herod was a scheming, ambitious man, who, upon gaining power, became
insecure, angry and vengeful. He lived by the sword and was afraid of dying by the sword.

Herod was absent at Advent because he was too afraid of losing control.

It wasn’t that Herod somehow missed the memo that the Messiah was
born. In fact, it was precisely because Herod suspected that the Messiah had
come that he acted the way he did: deceitful and murderous. Herod had
manipulated people and situations, sold out friends and relatives, used his own
marriage to his own political ends all to become the “King of the Jews.” He
wasn’t about to let some newborn baby undo all of it.

So, here’s the question for us: Are we too in love with being in control that we might miss what God is doing right under our noses?

The other night, our two girls, Sophia (3) and Norah (2), somehow
ended up in our bed right around midnight. It was fun for the first 10 minutes,
but then I was ready to go to sleep. But I was too tired to really do anything
about it…and Holly wasn’t moving either! As I lay there half-asleep, wrestling
with whether or not to strong-arm the kids and restore control in our house, I
heard Sophia whisper to Norah, “Love you, Norah.” “Luvoo Fia,” came the reply.
Tears welled up in my eyes. It was the most beautiful little scene. Surely God was in this place…and I almost missed it!

Then the girls started tickling each other, and screaming and giggling, and eventually I needed to get Norah back to her crib. But what if I had reached for control sooner? I might have missed a little piece of God’s activity.

Advent is the season where we remember Christ coming to earth. But Advent
happens all around us. God is coming to us in little smiles and heartfelt hugs,
in needy families and single mothers. All around us are signs of God’s arrival. But we could miss it if we cling too tightly to control.

In a way, Herod got it right: The real King had arrived, and He had
every intention of dethroning Herod. God has come, and He has come to rule our
hearts, to take control. But every time we cling to control and close our fists
or shut our eyes or withhold love when we have the chance to freely give, we
will miss what God is doing in the earth, miss His very arrival on the scenes
of our lives. We will be absent at Advent.

This article originally appeared here.

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Glenn Packiam
Glenn Packiam is one of the associate senior pastors at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the lead pastor of New Life Downtown, a congregation of New Life Church. Glenn earned a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry from Durham University in the UK. He also holds BA in Theological/Historical Studies and Masters in Management from Oral Roberts University, and a Graduate Certificate in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Glenn and his wife, Holly, have four children.