Happy New Year!
That’s right. Today is the first Sunday of Advent. For those of us who identify as Christians, today marks the beginning of our calendar year. The Advent season doesn’t end our year; it is that season when we start our annual rhythm all over again.
Advent originates from the Latin word Adventus, which means ‘to come’. It’s not technically meant to be a season of partying and shopping for stuff that we’ve been lured into buying by filthy rich corporations. It’s a time to long for the return of Jesus. It’s a time to lament the things that are wrong with the world. During this season we are meant to do our best to remember past, present and future tenses of Jesus life.
Past tense-We remember that He walked amongst us as a human being, as the Messiah, as God in the flesh, 2000 years ago. As we remember Him we are especially mindful after this brutal American election has just ended, that He didn’t have to run a multi-million dollar smear campaign in order to be crowned King. He became the King of kings once and for all by the humble way He was born, lived, served, spoke, died, and was resurrected.
Present tense-During Advent we are mindful that, though we can’t see Him, Jesus is with us now. In this season where admittedly ‘hope’ is in short supply as I scan the condition of the world, we can pray to the King of kings and He hears our cries. I must confess that I am struggling with this one lately. Donald Trump will be the president of the United States for crying out loud. As time passes, this reality is getting harder for me to swallow, not easier. I don’t just think he’s a lying, racist, homophobe, warmonger, power-hungry, bigot, narcissist, misogynist because the ‘liberal media’ told me he is. I think he is these things because he himself has shown me by his words and actions that he is. The saddest part is that people who claim Christ as their King are the ones who voted for him. The two couldn’t possibly be more opposite in their demonstrated values.
I’m so sad. And sorry. And worried.
And no, we Canadians don’t just get to sit back and point fingers at ‘them’. We have our own element of this same mindset that is gaining momentum every day.
Where are you Jesus?
(Thus ends the first and last of my direct political tirades. Thanks for humouring me. I needed to get that off my chest and I feel there’s no better season than Advent to do so. I won’t be entertaining political debate here either. I know the weaknesses of the other candidate and the arguments from the ‘other side’)
Future tense-At Advent we remember that Jesus will indeed come back to us and make everything right once and for all. This, and only this, is where I place all of whatever hope I can muster. All sickness, war, inequality, violence, racism, homelessness, and all other forms of brokenness will end once and for all.
I hope for this.
I pray for this.
I long for this.
And longing is what Advent is about.
Walter Brueggemann is one of my favorite authors. He talks about having a ‘prophetic imagination’. He says that imagining what ‘could be’, through a Jesus lens of course, is the beginning of hope and action.
So once again this year my Advent posts will be about imagining a better world.
One thing that Jesus and Trump have in common is that they both promise hope to the disillusioned masses.
A major difference is that Jesus’ hope isn’t a lie for the sake of gaining power.
His hope is real. It is true. It is pure.
On this first Sunday of Advent we will light the ‘hope’ candle in our home and at our church. My hope is that it will bring me new hope and that the season will give me glimpses of all of the places where hope still rules the day.
King of all kings,
I pray you give me glimpses of hope today.
Remind me of your presence in this world throughout this Advent season.
Help me see the world through your eyes.