It has been said, “Life is in the interruptions.” Christmas also reminds us that God is in the interruptions. We spend so much of our lives on hold, it seems. Now we are waiting for Christmas holidays to start and then we’ll wait for the next paycheck to pay for them. We stand in line at the checkout; sit in traffic jams; wait at the doctor’s office. We look forward to the birth of a child, long for a prayer to be answered and hope for a problem to be solved. Can it be that these delays are opportunities for life too? Can we find God in the middle of unfinished tasks and unfulfilled longings? I think this is where we will most often find him, if we are looking.
The whole world is in a Grand Interruption. The first Advent of Christ was the first phase of God’s great rescue mission. We are in the in-between times while we wait for his return and our final adoption as sons and daughters of God. According to scripture, creation is like an expectant mother,
“ . . . we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (Rom 8:22)
Creation has been subjected to futility by the will of God as a consequence of fall of humankind. Yet creation hasn’t given up hope, but rather groans like a woman in labor longing for the birth of her child. The sons whom creation is giving birth to are every believer who longs for Christ’s return. Because we live in a fallen groaning world, we too groan with expectant longing for the good that God intends for mankind. For the word of God says
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,g for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8: 28)
Most of us prefer things that are neat and tidy and with happy endings. Christmas is about Jesus coming into a mixed up world and God dwelling among us. If God can be born in an obscure and stinky stable, he is able to abide in our messes. Do you ever feel like you have to get it together for God before you can let him into your life? It’s as if he is standing at the door and knocking but we leave him there because we are so busy tidying up. Let’s invite him into the middle of our muddle, because life is in the interruptions.