Advent–always a wonderful, and strange, season. It’s wonderful because it gives the opportunity once again to recall the long wait of the people of God for their Savior, and the promises punctuating centuries of waiting throughout the Old Testament that would find their fulfillment in Jesus the Christ. In this season we recall again that a Messiah had been promised, and that God makes good on His promises…and that God did! Advent is a season of longing that finds its way to joy at the Christmas celebration. It’s a season of hope.
Yet it’s a strange season because there are so many things that find ourselves still longing for, even 2000 years after Jesus. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is as potent of a prayer now as it ever was. People around the world during this season of Advent are longing for peace–in Syria and Iraq, west and central Africa, Mexico and throughout central America, and in cities throughout the United States, and many more places. In Advent we remember that the Christ came to make all things new and right, and that there are still so many places where things need to be made new and right.
And many of those places are not so global…they are right around us in our own families and communities. Many of those places are a lot closer still.
There are many places in our own selves and souls that we long to be made new and right. There are places deep within us where this Advent we are longing for the Prince of Peace to come again. Indeed, it’s a season of hope that he will, again.
The good news is that when the world was very dark 2000 years ago, Jesus came. And in his arrival those who had walked in darkness had light break over them. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9.2) Because he came, we can walk more and more in the light that Jesus brings to our dark places, 2000 years later, and bring light to the dark places that surround us.
May we all find the courage again during this wonderful and strange season of Advent to show up to Jesus with all of our longing and hope–for the world, for those around us, for our families, and for our selves!