Advent 2016: Hope

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24: 36-44

My heart is crying out for Advent. –Sarah Bessey

When I read Sarah’s words on Facebook this morning, my heart said “Yes. What she said. That.” I kept reading. I prayed. I wandered around the internets a bit in search of something. I spent 35 minutes in quiet meditation. I went for a quick walk for good coffee. And as I wandered back through my front door, it dawned on me that what I want is to fall into the tradition of the season.

Given my recent history of avoiding the structures, boundaries, and the tight laces of christianity, I find this desire interesting. Given my recent anger at what US voters did while claiming the name of Jesus, it’s a mystery. Given my belief that God belongs to far more than my faith tradition, my wonder at advent surprised me.

A curiosity.

And then I read the advent passages and they snuck into my blood. They triggered sadness, frustration, nostalgia…and hope.

Advent is all about waiting. It is the practice of waiting for the birth of the baby Jesus. It is the act of participating daily with all of humanity in waiting for the Holy Spirit to show herself mighty for those she loves (you know…all the people). It is our eyes to the sky watching for our help to show up in the form of Jesus, sunshine, mountains, coffee, a hug, the smell of a baby’s head, a warm blanket, an excited puppy friend, or a good night’s sleep.

It is about waiting.

In waiting there are moments of despair. In waiting there can be rest. In waiting anxiety can rise and take center stage. In waiting there can be hope.

The first week of advent is all about hope.

Hope for the world…

God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:4)

Hope for my people…

For the sake of my friends and of all the people, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ (Psalm 122:8)

And this one. This one did me in. Hope for me…

You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first became believers. (Romans 13:11)

My salvation IS nearer now than when I first believed. It is closer to my heart. It is more real than when I was going to church 3 (or more) times a week. It dwells with me in the ways I live out my spirituality…uniquely my own. It is nearer to the very nature of who I am because God is in me, around me, and working through me every day.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel…God with the world…God with us…God with me.

In that I can wait. In that I can hope.


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