As we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christmas, we are in the midst of the Season of Advent.
Advent is a time of expectation and anticipation of the birth of baby Jesus and also a time of anticipation that Jesus will come again. It is a time of hope – we are hoping for the fulfillment of the promise that God made to us that Christ will come again to redeem us and that humanity will be reconciled to God.
As we celebrate the season of Advent we are living counter-cultural to the world around us. As Christians, what do we hope for? The world around us is expecting Christmas – the gifts, the parties, the sales, the baking, the stress and all the traditions. While Advent is intended as a time to slow down and to reflect, the commercial world has already been decorated for Christmas since Halloween. Luke 21:25-36 talks about Jesus’ second coming. In the second coming of Christ, we have hope of a better world. Instead of being afraid of Jesus’ second coming, we are hopeful that all who are oppressed and all that is broken in this world will finally be made right. Justice and righteousness will prevail and there will be no more homelessness, no more abuse, no more fighting, no more political tug-o-war. The world will all be at peace and we will all be worshiping the One who has come once again to redeem us all – the One who died on the cross for our sins and the One who showed us that the status quo does not bring justice and righteousness. In hope we watch and prepare for that day when Christ will return. Luke’s gospel encourages us to: “Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by drinking parties, drunkenness, and the anxieties of day-to-day life. Don’t let that day fall upon you unexpectedly, like a trap. It will come upon everyone who lives on the face of
the whole earth. Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand before the Human One.” (Luke 21:34-36)
No one knows when Christ will return – not even Jesus does – only God knows. Julian of Norwich, one of the greatest English mystics of 14th Century, received communication from God in visions. In one of these visions God said, “All shall be well and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
We have a message of hope that the world needs to hear and see and feel. Let us go forth in this season of preparation to find new and creative ways to share that message of hope and to rejoice that Jesus came to redeem all of us. O Come, O Come Emmanuel.