By Bob Bunn
Like a lot of guys, I’m a sports fan. And, like many guys, I am not above recording a game I want to watch if I’m busy when it’s being played live. Back in the day, that meant setting the timer correctly on your VCR and loading a VHS that didn’t have your wedding or your child’s first steps on it. These days, it’s as simple as pushing a button for your DVR.
While the technology and accessibility for watching games has radically improved, you still have to decide what to do about the final score. You only have two options when watching a recorded game: you either know the final score, or you don’t.
I’ve watched games both ways. Not knowing feels like the real thing because the suspense and tension remain intact. But I’ve got to admit, there’s something satisfying and secure about knowing how things end up—especially if the result is positive for your team. No matter what happens while I watch, I don’t have to worry or wring my hands. When you know the final score, you just watch the game differently.
That’s what I think about when I read Psalm 27, Romans 8, and the other passages for today. They all put a lot of emphasis on refusing fear because we’re following the One who loves us and is in control through every possible situation we face. He’s already sealed the deal, so we don’t have to agonize over the outcome. He’s setting us free from worry, doubt, guilt, and shame.
That’s what Advent is all about. It’s about the eternal Creator stepping into space and time for the benefit of His creation. It’s about releasing and redeeming people who couldn’t lift a finger to help themselves—people like you and me.
Many of us know this message. We’ve heard the Christmas story so many times that it makes sense on paper. The narrative that runs from heaven to Bethlehem to Calvary to our lives today clicks on an intellectual level.
But Advent dares us to take it to another level—a heart level. Because Christ became one of us, we have been freed from the prison of sin and fear. God is for us; we know how the game ends; and we can look at life from a whole new perspective.
The call of Advent is to live in that freedom, during this season and every other season of the year. The watching world needs to know what Jesus did for them and see it reflected in our lives. Our freedom can convince them that the game has already been won and they can share in the victory. After all, God is for them, as well.