Greg's Weekly Word: "advent"
'Tis the season! The time of year when we "hang the green" and start to sing carols.
But Advent is more than just the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas... more than just killing time before we get to the manger and angels and shepherds... more than a four-week wait.
Of course, this year, we probably don't want to wait! Christmas can't get here soon enough! With everything that has happened in 2020 (COVID and hurricanes and a vicious election), and with everything happening in our lives (family conflict, the loss of loved ones, fear and guilt and despair), we might wonder, "What is our world coming to?"
(And here are a few of my favorite "If 2020 was a..." memes for your enjoyment...)
Of course, wondering what in the world is going on - what our world is coming to - is a question people have always asked. And Advent is God's response. Because Advent does not ask, "What is our world coming to?" but "What is coming to our world?"
The word advent means "come to" or "arrive." It is a season in which we look to the arrival of God in the birth of Jesus. And as we do, we also look to the kingdom Christ proclaims and embodies, that it would come, "on earth as it is in heaven."
Of course, part of that anticipation is the recognition that our world and our lives are not all they could be or should be and not all that God promises or desires. But we hold that recognition alongside the other part of our advent anticipation: the hope that while our lives (and the lives of all of God's children) are often wanting and our world is not perfect (far from it!), still, God is always moving toward us... coming to us.
God's advent did not happen only once upon a time on a silent, star-filled night. God comes to us with the arrival of any child, and the promise of life and love that is born with them.
God comes to us anytime faith overcomes fear, or food is shared and grace given. Anytime a stranger is welcomed, or forgiveness is offered. Anytime we live as the beloved community to which Christ calls us, allowing his kingdom to come to life among and through us, even in the smallest ways.
God's advent in the birth of Jesus will soon be here. But I hope and pray that God's advent in and through us is already here...and always will be.