Advent: What Holy Message?

Advent is a season of waiting. Advent is a season of yearning, hoping and expecting. The Israelites waited hundreds of years for God to restore them to a right relationship with their Creator. We have the aid of history on our side today. We spend the season of Advent, not wondering what good news will come at the end of the season, but slowing down the rush to the manger scene. During Advent we wait with anticipation, for the coming of Christ. We wait with hope and expectation to see and hear the good news of God’s Son, the Messiah who arrives on earth to reconcile the world; to restore hope and healing; and who proclaims the kingdom of God breaking in to the world. Advent is a time for the church to remember the light and love, joy and peace that Jesus brings into a broken and deprived world.

We too are like the Israelites and wait in lament and experience the weight of God’s silence in the midst of oppression. We witness illness and death and injustice. We stand with our Latino brothers and sisters who wait for fair immigration reform, or for our black brothers and sisters who face crushing pressures daily through racism, micro-agression, and an unjust criminal system. We sit with those who are homeless, fighting cancer, or battling depression. Their pain becomes our pain. How does the message of Jesus Christ, born in a lowly manger, startling the world with such subtly and humility rather than grandeur and the pomp and circumstance of royalty speak to lament, pain and suffering? What majestic and holy message do we find in the filthy, fetid manger scene? Where does heaven meet earth? God is an out-of-the-box God. God’s glory and presence appears out on the fringes, in the fields with the “least of these”.  Where does Jesus light shine brightest? In the churches, temples and sanctuaries? Or in the depths, the darkness, the corners of the world, with the rejected and outcast. Advent is a season to be reminded of our sin and depravity and brokenness and how God’s light pierces through the darkness, illuminating, healing and strengthening the family of God who is the body of Christ.