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Advent brings the question of what God is like into sharp focus. Advent is about waiting for God. The underlying supposition is that we will be waiting eagerly and anxiously - that God’s advent will be a good thing; that it’s something we’d obviously want. Yet if we could persuade people that God was genuinely just in the wings, about to appear, most people would regard that as thoroughly Bad News. In fact, it would absolutely ruin their Christmas! And why? Because the God they anticipate arriving is to be feared or disliked or appeased or grovelled to. Nobody wants to see the person who dislikes them the most appear - especially when that person has absolute power over them! If God doesn’t like you, and God has the power to consign you to hell, or do whatever other sorts of things God might do to express disapproval, disappointment and dislike of you, you will not be anxious to see God!You'll like this
And for goodness’ sake, let’s not shake our heads regretfully, or tut at people’s capacity to get things so wrong: the reason they think like that about God is because that’s the message they’ve got from the Church! And if not actively, they’ve at least heard nothing to act as any strong counter or corrective.
And for all of you who are reading this thinking: 'But people need to know that God is angry with them' - No, they don't.