Despite the message we get from television and the department stores it is not the Christmas season. It is actually the beautiful season of Advent. The church calendar is a tool or a way in which for hundreds of years Christians have sought to center their lives on Jesus. Advent focuses our attention on Jesus’ first coming so that we anticipate his coming in glory.
Each week of Advent celebrates a theme capturing the feelings of our anticipation for Jesus’ return.
I believe this week fully encapsulates the Christian belief of hope. Hope is our cultural understanding is despite the numbers or odds we still believe in a good thing coming. Hope, in the Christian understanding, is not about the odds. Hope is understood that there are no odds, there is not a chance of a good thing coming. Our hope is in remembering how God has acted in loving rescue for his people and creation before and trusting God will act again. Our faith is not in the future, but trust in our relationship with God. Trusting that as we know God as one of loving rescue, God will lovingly rescue again.
During Advent, our hope is found in Jesus. We remember when God became flesh and dwelt among us. We recognize the longing, waiting, and tension of the people waiting for God’s return. Jesus was God returning to his people in a loving rescuing way. We see creation renewed in Christ in his resurrection, and long for a time when all of creation is renewed in the same way. The tension of living in the in-between time of God’s rescuing beginning and finishing is felt every day in our world. The poverty, illness, death, persecution, and oppression we see every day that leads us to fear of other and the world can be seen and felt every day by us. History shows us that the brokenness of this world is ever present and seems to be repeating. The numbers for a change in the pattern are slim to none.
However, as Christians we have hope. Hope that God will act again. That Christ will come again. That when Jesus returns what is true of him, will be true of us. That is what is true of him, will be true of all creation. That is no more death, fear, oppression, illness, or poverty. Instead, there will be life in abundance, filled with love, freedom, and goodness.
Happy Advent Everyone!