Advent began today and we are reminded to wait: wait for the child of promise, wait for the freedom promised to God’s people, wait for light to break our darkness. We wait and as we wait anticipation and hope grows. Jesus is coming. Again. You can count on it.
This is one of my favorite seasons of the year because for me Advent is a stay against an obsequious deference to the way things are. Celebrating Advent means to awaken to the possibility that a new world is not only possible, but on its way. Jesus is coming, and the powers, structures, presidents and president-elects, economic institutions, and nation states do not have the final world. We can rest assured that Christ comes with his kingdom and:
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors. (Luke 1:50-55, from Mary’s Magnificat).
We are more ready for Advent than ever. This year we have heard the songs of the disenfranchised and the dissatisfied: the fear of terrorism and economic collapse, continuing violence against people of color, immigrants and LGBT communities, counter-violence against law enforcement, NODAPL, Brexit and the alt-right. If there is ever a time when the message of Advent resonates with people, it is now, 2016. We get it, We do not need to settle for what is. But we can dream much bigger than an alt-white Christmas. It is time to imagine what possibilities Jesus brings in his wake.
This isn’t a time to wait and see, like President Obama urges us to this moment of political transition. This is a time of actively seeking Christ’s coming and all its means for how we live our lives today:
When NODAPL protestors are blasted with water canons in sub-freezing temperatures, Come Lord Jesus. How do we make way for Christ there?
When middle America fears a loss of livelihood and their economic well being, Come Lord Jesus. How do we prepare the way of the LORD?
When immigrants fear that they or their loved ones will be deported and their family will be torn apart, Come Lord Jesus. How do we invite Jesus into this reality?
When abuse and sexual assault is overlooked or excused because of expediency and we hear victim blaming, Come Lord Jesus. How do we extend Christ’s mercy to the broken?
When our fear of violence and terror causes us to reject the poor, widowed and orphaned refuge, Come Lord Jesus. How can we bring Jesus to the vulnerable?
When we hear about systemic injustice, like the Flint, Michigan water crisis or the racial bias of the criminal justice system, Come Lord Jesus, how will the hunger for justice be satiated?
Come Lord Jesus, Come
Waiting for Christ’s coming doesn’t just mean that we wait for some final cataclysmic event when all wrongs are set to rights. Christ is coming but he also has already come. Bring him with you in your waiting so together we may be the change we want to see in the world.