Save Us! Save Us!
We have heard children squeal these words with a mixture of playful terror and delight while playing games. We hear the word “safe” yelled by an umpire during a baseball game, followed by cheering or grumbling from the spectators depending on the player’s team. What does the word mean?
Merriam-Webster defines safe as “free from harm or risk; harmless; unlikely to produce controversy or contradiction.” Most of us reflect on 2020 as a year that rarely felt safe. So, what does the theme of Salvation have to do with Advent? What are we being saved from exactly?
Going through Scripture, we see that Jesus Christ came to not only save us from something – our sin – but to and for something He has planned for us as His Bride. The saints of old often remained in disturbing situations of their day. God did not pluck them out of their troubles and take them to His side. He equipped them to offer hope, peace, and joy while they waited for the Promise to be revealed. The Promise, the Messiah, identified his disciples as in the world but not of world (John 17), but asks the Father to have them remain in the world and kept safe from the evil one. In his latest book, Cultural Intelligence, Darrell Bock reminds us that salvation “is not about gaining a place but about regaining a Person and learning to live in ways that are pleasing to Him.” God is our refuge, but He does not desire stagnation and inaction. He desires surrender, dependence, and obedience to fulfill what He has equipped us to do.
There have likely been moments this past year where you have thought or even cried out, “Save me from this!” By His grace, the Father has already done so through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Furthermore, we who are in Christ have the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus told His disciples is, for now, even better than him staying with us here face to face. By grace through faith, and through the Spirit, we can answer our own cry for safety with the assurance of crying “Emmanuel” in response. Jesus is our safe place, our salvation now and forever.
Just like playing children or baseball spectators, we’re tempted to feel terror or grumble in frustration. But our salvation provides the object of our hope, our method of attaining peace, and the reason we have joy while we wait for the second Advent… which is meaningless without the first Advent. There is no better motivation than that to truly wish each other, “Merry Christmas!”