(This is a thing I wrote for our Advent service tonight. A couple of people have asked for it, so I thought I'd just post it. Sometimes when I cut and paste from word, it gets a little messed up. So please excuse the apparent typos.)
Sometime around the beginning of October our culture places its collective foot on the accelerator and pushes down hard. It wants to get to Christmas as fast as possible.
Advent is us putting our foot on the brakes.
Advent is about waiting. Waiting with pregnant anticipation.
Advent is us looking around and seeing who we are, where we are, and what we need….and waiting.
Advent is us looking around and seeing who we are. We are many things. Above all else we are children of, followers of, lovers of…God.
Advent is us looking around and seeing where we are. Many of us are in the land of despair, of grief, of sorrow.
Advent is us looking around and seeing what we need. We need to be rescued. Rescued from the land of despair, grief, and sorrow.
During the time of Advent we look back, and remember. We remember a time and a people…our people…who were in need of rescue…and who were rescued. The Song of Zechariah: “He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, Just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he'd do, What he swore to our father Abraham-- a clean rescue from the enemy camp, So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live.
During the time of Advent we look forward, in anticipation of our future deliverance and take heart. The words of John: “I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good--tears gone, crying gone, pain gone--all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down--each word dependable and accurate." Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me.”
As the people of long ago, we wait. We wait for a child. For a king. For rescue. For love, hope, peace, and joy, we wait. With enormous expectation, we wait.